Under the agreement, Secure Solar will deploy a solar array of 596.6 kW at Calhoun Middle/High School in Mt. Zion and a second array of 172 kW at Pleasant Hill Elementary School in Grantsville.
With this, Calhoun County Schools claims that it will become the first public school system in the state to install solar panels. It will receive solar power through a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Secure Solar Futures at no upfront cost.
“Calhoun County Schools is excited to be the first public school system in the state of West Virginia to install solar panels on their school roofs,” said Kelli Whytsell, superintendent of Calhoun County Schools. “We will be partnering with Secure Solar to be able to produce electricity that our schools will be using in the near future. We hope that being the first public school system to install the solar panels on our roofs will encourage other school systems to follow suit.”Under the PPA, all the solar equipment will be owned and operated by Secure Solar Futures. The Virginia-based company will sell solar energy to the schools at a cost lower than the grid power offered by the local electric utility.
The solar arrays will be installed on roofs of school buildings and use a total of 1,671 Tier 1 460-Watt monocrystalline solar modules manufactured by Heliene in Minnesota. Installation is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
The systems are projected to produce enough clean energy to power the equivalent of 78 homes and avoid 400 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, equivalent to the amount sequestered by 473 acres of forest.
This deal is expected to save the school district approximately $740,000 in energy costs over the next 25 years. Secure Solar was selected as the provider in a competitive public procurement process through a request for proposals issued by Calhoun County Schools in the fall of 2022.
Secure Solar will also offer classroom curricula and job training programs for solar installers as part of the agreement.
West Virginia legalized solar PPAs through House Bill 3310 in 2021, making it the 29th state to do so.