Contractors have begun installing green, clean and sustainable rooftop solar panels at Troy Community School District 30-C schools.
The project was approved by school board members in August as a cost-saving measure, as well as for environmental and educational purposes.
Other districts that have taken the initiative so far include schools in Romeoville, Libertyville, Lake Park and Grayslake. Troy schools are located in Shorewood, Plainfield and Joliet.
The solar panels are being installed on six of the seven Troy schools, including the elementary schools Troy Craughwell, Troy Cronin, Troy Heritage Trail and Troy Hofer. William B. Orenic Intermediate and Troy Middle Schools will also receive them.
The panels are expected to provide 48 percent of the district’s electricity, with cost savings of an estimated $3.8 million over the next 20 to 30 years. The district received more than $1 million of renewable energy credits for the project, and the panels are warrantied for 25 years.
Solar energy is also known as a clean alternative to obtaining electricity, with no air and water pollution, threats to public health or adding to global warming.
In an education-technology partnership between the Troy school district and contractor Ameresco Inc., two of the solar panels will be mounted on the ground at Troy Middle School and at Troy Shorewood Elementary School.
Teachers will use the ground-mounted panels as an opportunity to teach students about how solar energy is collected. Grade-appropriate activities will connect the students’ visual observations with information about solar technology. A website will also display weather information and the panels’ energy production.
Construction has already begun at William B. Orenic Intermediate School, Troy Middle School and Troy Hofer Elementary School, and the projected finish date for all six schools is May 31.