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Two New Jersey schools go green with solar roofs

pitmanhighschool_optTwo New Jersey schools have turned to the sun, large-scale solar power systems, to help control energy costs and pollution.

Vanguard Energy Partners of Branchburg announced it has completed the installation of solar arrays on roofs at Pitman High School in Gloucester County and Gill St. Bernards, a private school in Somerset County.

"We are so excited about our solar project and how it is working," said Pitman Superintendent Thomas Schulte, describing the high school as "going green" in a statement released by the company.

"While we're capturing the energy of the sun and converting it into electricity, were reducing our reliance on fossil fuel, lowering greenhouse gases and saving taxpayer money," he said.

According to information released by the company, the 310-kilowatt system will provide almost 40 percent of the energy needed to power the school, about 350,000 kilowatt hours per year. Consisting of 1,284 photovoltaic modules, the system will avoid 553,646 pounds of carbon emissions annually, comparable to taking 48 cars off the roads.

"We're very excited to help schools utilize solar energy to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions, said Vanguard CEO Jim LaFleur.  "It is also rewarding to know that the schools will be using the arrays as a teaching opportunity for students and the community."

At Gill St. Bernards in Gladstone, the solar array was installed in the spring on the roof of the athletic center, giving teachers time to integrate its workings into math and science classes this year. The 146-kilowatt system handles about 70 percent of the building's power needs, according to Vanguard.

The school was able to avoid capital costs by working through Vanguard, which maintains the system and sells energy to Gill St. Bernards at a reduced rate.

"Private financing, along with the expertise of Vanguard, makes this a win-win for GSB and helps us on our way to energy sustainability," said Sid Rowell, the school's headmaster.

Both schools will have to ability to evaluate their respective power consumption, solar production and system efficiency using SunFlow Monitor, a real-time, web based monitoring system provided by Noveda Technologies. Vanguard has completed more than 130 solar installations.

– STAFF, NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

 

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