Another Indiana school embraces solar power for energy

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WALKERTON, Ind. (AP) — A school in northern Indiana expects to be powered by sun by March.

The project at North Liberty Elementary in Walkerton in St. Joseph County is part of a broader effort to improve energy efficiency in the John Glenn district, the South Bend Tribune .

“From a student’s perspective, it’s a whole lot different to see something with your own eyes rather than just reading about it and seeing pictures in a book,” said Randy Romer, principal at North Liberty. “They’re excited about it, but so are the teachers.”

The 846 solar panels can be used as an education tool as students learn how output varies depending on the weather. A monitor will be placed in a common area so students can see how much power is being produced.

Superintendent Chris Winchell said money was a key factor in embracing solar, LED lighting and other energy-saving steps.

“You really have to have a sound financial plan to protect your programs, and the best way to do that is to have a strong facilities plan,” Winchell said. “Controlling utility costs helps us achieve those goals.”

Goshen Community Schools started its own solar fields at Model Elementary and Prairie View Elementary. The district estimates it will save as much as $148,000 a year in utility costs, said Judy Miller, energy education specialist.

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