Schools

North has first school-based solar project in the county

Ribbon cutting ceremonies conducted at Pleasant Hill and Sommer

Officials from North Montgomery School Corporation, Tri-County Bank and Performance Services were on hand Monday for the ribbon cutting ceremony at Pleasant Hill Elementary School.
Officials from North Montgomery School Corporation, Tri-County Bank and Performance Services were on hand Monday for the ribbon cutting ceremony at Pleasant Hill Elementary School.
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A new renewable energy project has been completed at Pleasant Hill Elementary and Lester B. Sommer Elementary located in the North Montgomery Community School Corporation near Crawfordsville.

North Montgomery conducted a ribbon cutting and celebration for the new solar panel systems at Sommer Elementary on Thursday and at Pleasant Hill on Monday. Representatives from Tri-County Bank, which helped fund the project, participated in the celebration, as did Tom LeStourgeon, a project manager from Performance Services who designed and contracted the solar field projects.

The project involves a solar photovoltaic power system consisting of solar panels that have been placed in areas that receive direct sunlight for the majority of the day. The sites are on a large plot of land that is not covered by trees or other obstructions. The solar sites are located at Pleasant Hill in the northwest corner of the property, with the second field in the northwest corner near the bus entrance at Sommer.

“We’re excited to model how smaller renewable energy projects like this can make a difference in the local community,” said Jim McBee, North Montgomery Business & Transporation Director. “By generating our own energy, we will reduce energy costs of approximately $130,000 per year; provide protection against rising electricity costs; and demonstrate the use of clean energy for students and the community.”

North Montgomery School Board President Terresa Hatke added, “It is all thanks to Jim McBee, Performance Services and Tri-County Bank, who facilitated the funding of the project. Without their help, we would not have the project we now have.”

Tri-County Bank Vice President Steve McLaughlin is proud to be part of this renewable energy project.

“Students will be able to view electricity generation and savings information at the solar field and also on a web portal,” he said.

Each site consists of nearly 1,400 solar panels that will save the district thousands of dollars per year. In addition, North Montgomery is now able to introduce the impact of solar into the curriculum through their new state-of-the-art energy monitoring system.

The North Montgomery School Board unanimously approved the solar project Jan. 7. Construction on the new solar power system project began in April. This is the first school-based solar energy project in Montgomery County.

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