Marion Central School District and Monolith Solar recently commissioned a 253-kW farm to power the district’s high school and bus garage.
The system located adjacent to the Marion Jr.-Sr. High School is projected to satisfy nearly 80 percent of the district’s usage, saving almost $13,000 in energy costs in just the first year.
The project was made possible through state and federal grants and with the continued support of the New York State Department of Education and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. If utility cost trends continue, the solar farm is projected to save the school almost $750,000 over 20 years.
Aside from financial savings, MCSD administrators saw the project as an educational opportunity for students to enhance the science, technology, engineering and math program at the school. The on-site farm enables students to learn about electricity and renewable energy outside their classroom.
“Marion Central School District is excited about this project for two reasons, the first being it is saving us green and positively influencing our bottom line,” said Donald Bavis, district superintendent. “Secondly, the solar field aligns with the district’s commitment to a greener, more efficient campus. Furthermore, the space allows our student’s access to a renewable energy production site that can be directly incorporated into our STEM program.”
MCSD and Monolith Solar hope this project inspires students and community members to see the benefits of solar energy both financially and environmentally and encourages students to pursue careers in the renewable energy field.
“Monolith Solar is excited about being able to incorporate a solar field that will produce a significant portion of the district’s electricity needs for the next 20 years,” said Lindsey McEntire, business development manager at Monolith Solar. “This project truly sets the stage in western New York for other school districts to follow suit.”