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A 100-year old private school, Lawrenceville School, in Lawrenceville, N.J. is now getting 90% of its electricity from solar.
The school installed a 6.1 megawatt (MW) ground-mounted system on 30 acres of school-owned farm land, the largest installed at a U.S. primary or secondary school.
The system features 24,934 SolarWorld solar panels, manufactured at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Hillsboro, Oregon and mounted on single-axis trackers to maximize energy production.
Around the perimeter are about 900,000 honey bees, nourished by wildflowers planted among and around the solar panels.
KDC Solar leased the land for the project from the school and owns and maintains the solar equipment. Through a power purchase agreement, the Lawrenceville School will buy electricity produced by the array over the next 20 years.
The solar farm is part of the Green Campus Initiative which involves campus energy, materials, land and water use, applying methods that promote ecological literacy and involve the community outside of the school.
“There’s a strong economic incentive as well,” says Sam Kosoff, the school’s director of sustainability. “The school will wind up saving $400,000 a year, but if energy prices escalate, it will be more.”
During the day, the array can produce nearly twice the energy needed by the school. The excess will be sent to the grid and credited to the school, and the school will draw energy after sundown.