Warren school's solar panels make money, enlighten students

Posted August 15, 2012 4:31 p.m. EDT
Updated August 15, 2012 6:16 p.m. EDT

— Warren County High School is home to the largest collection of solar panels on a school in the state. While the energy harnessed there doesn’t power the school, the students do benefit from it, school leaders said Wednesday.

The high school leased space on its roof for the next 20 years to Argand Energy Solutions and private investors, which paid a $75,000 fee to install more than 2,000 solar panels. After eight years, the school will collect $6,000 annually.

The company plans to sell the energy – enough to power 50 homes – to Progress Energy.

“I believe that it’s probably one of the greatest things that’s happened here in Warren County in a long time,” said construction teacher Robert Clary.

In addition to the revenue, a separate solar panel will be placed on the ground and be part of the high school's curriculum.

“To bring this type of technology into this county, it opens doors for these students,” Clary said.

“It’s something different, something new that the school never had. It teaches you a lot about how to save energy,” said student Ariel Holtzmann.

Construction on the panels began in May, and they've been up and running since late July.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of space up here, and that space for us is revenue,” said Warren County Schools Superintendent Ray Spain.