When Ansonia High School students return to school at the end of the month they will be greeted by a computer screen filled with data about the sun — how much is beating down on their school roof, and what it means for the city’s energy consumption.
The data will be projected in the main lobby of the high school all year, to inform students and staff about the new solar panels that were installed on the building this summer.
The city unveiled the solar panels at a ribbon cutting Tuesday afternoon.
City officials said the 200-kilowat system will help offset about 15 to 20 percent of the building’s energy costs — for about $20,000 in energy savings a year.
That’s equivalent to the energy used to power 20 to 30 large homes, said Edouard Klehe, of SunLight General Capital, a green energy investment company that owns and installed the solar panels on the roof.
SunLight General sells the energy from the solar panels to Ansonia at a fixed rate. The arrangement means Ansonia gets energy savings without having to pay to install the panels. Click here for a previous article about the solar panel project.
The panels cost about $1 million to install. That money came from private investors rounded up by SunLight General, and from the state Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (formerly called the Clean Energy Fund).
SunLight General has a contract to keep the panels on the roof for the next 15 years.
The state Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority gave $430,000 toward the project, according to Elizabeth Olney, a project associate for CEFIA.
With that grant came special training for two teachers at the high school. The teachers — Cindy Musante and Kelly Rayone — learned about solar power and wind turbines, according to Ansonia Superintendent of Schools Carole Merlone.
“They worked with passive solar heat in a model house, and learned about factors affecting output of solar cells,” Merlone said. “They got a plethora of activities to teach the students.”
Merlone said the green energy lessons will be incorporated into science classes at the high school this year.
The data on display at the high school will be accessible to anyone with an internet connection too.
Click here to see the information. The website tracks how much power the panels are generating, the weather, and the amount of energy saved.
It also has information explaining how solar panels work.