Solar Possibilities Discussed for New School

By Kate Anslinger

A team from Blue Wave Capital was at Monday night’s School Committee meeting, to share their insight on Winthrop’s solar potential.

The company is known for developing environmentally responsible energy projects and has completed successful projects on several properties in Brookline and Melrose. And if all goes well, their next stop will be placing solar panels on the new high school.

Due to the high school’s location, it has an ideal roof for solar panels, which has the potential of saving the town a lot of money on utilities. So far, the company has assessed the location and ensured that the site has appropriate solar access and the availability of sufficient ground for the panels. Incentives are available for the Town, and according to engineers and the team at Blue Wave, the new high school is the perfect spot for the Town to work toward solar goals.

In addition to allowing for energy use reduction, the panels have the potential to reduce the cost of electric bills. The incentive is based on a 20-year agreement and the savings will grow over time. The first year of savings is estimated to be $7,000.

The School Committee agreed that they are committed to moving forward with the solar panel project, pending review of the contract. “I think this is a great project, but I feel strongly that we need to review this contract before we move further,” said School Committee member Brian Perrin.

One main concern voiced by the committee was the warranty of the brand new roof on the new high school.

“It’s very common to have a solar system installed on a brand new roof,” said Blue Wave Director, Sandra Brown, who also committed to making the call to ensure the roof warranty, will remain in tact. The team also spoke highly of the particular panels that could be used, stating that they have the lowest failure rate and the potential to be functional for 40 years. At the end of the 20-year agreement, the town can opt to purchase the system or they can have it removed at no cost and purchase a new system. If all goes well, the panel project could start as early as November and they ensured the committee that the installation process will not disrupt the school day.

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