GREENTOWN -- The Eastern Howard School Corp. is hoping to start work on solar fields next month with the goal of supplying the high and middle schools’ power needs.

The board discussed adding solar panels over the last few months, with an added sense of urgency due to the passage of Senate Bill 309 into law. The law affects corporations’ abilities to take advantage of net metering, which allows corporations to sell back energy produced by alternative energy sources, such as solar panels, to energy companies at a retail rate.

As part of the new law, corporations and organizations that install alternative energy sources by the end of the year will be guaranteed net metering rates for the next 30 years. The school corporation is hoping to have solar panels installed at its soccer fields by the end of September.

The school is working with PSG Energy Group and EMCOR to develop a plan for the solar project, which will be housed at the school’s practice and regular soccer fields.

The board discussed Thursday the need to wait to develop the regular soccer field until the end of the soccer season, and Jami Krynski with PSG Energy Group said that plan should work, as long as they can get started on the practice fields as early as possible. The school then hopes to rebuild the soccer fields before the season next year, placing them at land the school owns near the Greentown water tower.

Eastern board member Jordan Buckley said the school is concerned both with ensuring net metering before the end of the year and making sure the project does not impact the soccer season more than necessary.

Buckley added the school looked at putting the solar panels at the land near the water tower, but the cost to get that land ready for the project would be too expensive. The school also wanted to add solar panels to the elementary school’s roof, but after looking further into that possibility it became clear that the elementary school roof needs about $1 million in repairs.

Once the elementary school roofs are repaired, the school could still add solar panels after this year and receive net metering rates for the next 15 years.

The board discussed finalizing plans for the current project by mid-August. 

Education Reporter Caele Pemberton can be reached at 765-454-8587, by email at caele.pemberton@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @CaelePemberton

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