Schools

North receives proposals for solar panels

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LINDEN — North Montgomery Community School Corp. has received interest from two energy companies to install solar panels at Sommer and Pleasant Hill Elementary.

The district solicited proposals from Carmel-based Performance Services and Indianapolis-based PSG Energy Group and will present a recommendation to the school board next month.

North Montgomery was first approached in April by another company wanting to install ground-mounted panels at the two schools, where it was determined would save the most money on energy. An analysis showed the two schools combined could reduce costs by about $90,000 in one year.

But if the board votes to move forward, the clock is ticking to start harnessing the rays. A 2017 state law eliminates much of the financial incentive for installing solar panels. Owners who feed surplus energy to the power grid are currently compensated at a retail market rate that helps pay off their investments.

“After July 1, [utilities] don’t have to do that anymore, so there’s a dollar amount advantage for us to get this done,” Jim McBee, the district’s business and transportation director, told the board at its monthly meeting on Monday.

The panels don’t require planning and zoning approval since they would be installed on school property with the energy not being sold for a profit.

In other business, the board announced there will be no changes made to the district’s COVID-19 policies, after parents and community members spoke out in a public hearing earlier this month.

Board president Gary Bohlander read a statement on behalf of his colleagues thanking the speakers for their “respectful conduct” at the hearing.

“We’re proud of our community for many reasons, but what we observed that evening is one more reason why we chose to serve you at the North Montgomery school community,” Bohlander said.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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