Teaming Up on Energy with New Hampshire School District
December 21, 2016
A series of renewable energy projects have transformed the Inter-Lakes School District in New Hampshire into a leading energy-diverse school district in the state. The most recent project is a 345.6-kilowatt, solar electric array that generates 100 percent of the district high school’s electricity. One of the largest solar energy projects of its kind at a New Hampshire school, the grid-tied array consists of 960 solar panels.
Ten years ago, the school district’s facilities and energy infrastructure needed improvements, all to better manage energy costs. The district worked with Honeywell, which assisted in charting a decade-long effort to overhaul its energy infrastructure. Inter-Lakes – a cooperative district serving approximately 1,060 students from pre-school to 12th grade – divided its energy and facilities goals into two phases.
Phase I improvements focused on the district’s buildings – weatherization, lighting upgrades, replacement of inefficient and failing HVAC systems and installation of building controls. The $2.3 million improvements in Phase I were funded by grants and the energy savings generated by efficiency improvements.
The improvements reduce oil consumption by approximately 50 percent, electric consumption by approximately 38 percent and set the stage for Phase II. This second phase is focusing on the installation of sustainable technologies, including a grid-tied solar electric system.
When Phase II work is completed in the next month, the district will have reduced its oil consumption to near zero and reduced energy costs by 40 percent. In this phase, the district self-funded more than $4.7 million of capital improvements without increasing current budget.
Solar Power for the School District and Beyond
Excess electricity generated by the new solar array is fed back to the grid following New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s program for member-installed net metered generation. Installed by ReVision Energy, the array is the largest to date in the cooperative’s service territory.
The solar power generated by the array is equivalent to offsetting the carbon dioxide emissions of 422 barrels of oil or 39 passenger vehicles each year. The power generated by the array is equivalent to offsetting the electricity use of more than 40 homes. If all 960 solar panels were laid flat on the high school’s football field, the array would cover nearly half of the field.
ReVision Energy also installed solar energy systems at two other sites in the school district: a 17.1-kilowatt solar electric array with two, 30-panel arrays that are expected to produce 20.25 megawatt hours of solar power each year; and a solar hot water system that can heat 350 gallons of hot water per day.
Inter-Lakes School District was recognized in June by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships as a 2016 Northeast Business Leader for Energy Efficiency for its efforts to foster the economy and to protect the environment via its commitment to energy efficiency.
Honeywell helps districts and their schools enable a more comfortable and productive environment through innovative energy solutions, which have resulted in approximately $270 million of guaranteed savings for K-12 schools in the U.S. and Canada since 2013.