SPRING HILL, Kan. – One local school district is harnessing the power of the sun to power up its classrooms. Wednesday morning, the Spring Hill School District unveiled its newly constructed solar array.
The school district partnered with Evergy and EnergyLink to install a solar array directly behind Spring Hill High School. The ground-mount solar field stretches across roughly 4 acres of land behind the school.
Jeff Martin, vice president of customer operations for Evergy, said the high school’s land availability and proximity to the grid made it a perfect fit for the project.
The high school operates on an all electric system. The new solar installation will allow the district to generate power on-site to produce a majority of the high school’s day time electric usage.
“Spring Hill School District has used 3.1 million kilowatt hours over the last year. This 750-kilowatt array will generate enough energy to offset roughly 35% of the school’s usage,” Martin said.
The 750-kilowatt solar array is made up of approximately 1,872 solar panels and is capable of generating enough electricity to offset roughly a third of the school’s energy use each year.
During a ribbon cutting ceremony, Spring Hill Mayor Joe Berkey said the new installation will help the school district cut down its energy bill.
“In year one, it is estimated the solar array will generate $113,354 in energy savings income and over $6 million in total energy savings income by the year 2052,” Berkey said.
The project is financed through a Solar Service Agreement (SSA). Under this agreement, Evergy is listed as the owner of the solar equipment and EnergyLink is responsible for the maintenance of the system. The school district will not be charged for operational or maintenance costs, but will sell back a portion of the power generated at the high school to the utility company.
Spring Hill High School freshman Quorynn Harris said she’s proud to see her school taking active steps to combat climate change.
“Scientists confirm that at the rate global warming is going at now, the arctic will have ice-free summers by 2035 and even be melted by 2050. Thus causing a drastic change in global warming for the worst,” Harris said. “We can make a difference in the future of this planet and humankind by simply treating it as a resource not to be taken advantage of.”
The district will also incorporate the new solar array into the curriculum. Students of all grade levels will have the chance to learn about sustainability, engineering and various forms of energy management.
“Great school districts like we have here in Spring Hill USD 230 attract people to the community. Having a cutting-edge solar array like we have here today will help our school district stand out even more,” Berkey said.
In addition to the solar project, native grasses have been planted around the array to attract local pollinators to the area.