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Solar Energy Education Project Gets Board Green Light

By September 14, 2011August 5th, 2021News

CANANDAIGUA, NY — The Canandaigua City School District Board of Education named Solar Liberty of Buffalo, NY, as winning bidder on a solar power and education project supported by a grant from NYSERDA, the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority. Six different companies submitted bids for the project. Solar Liberty’s low bid of $578,685 is more than $170,000 less than the original NYSERDA grant of $752,400.

The project, which involves installation of solar panel arrays on the roofs of three school buildings — Canandaigua Academy, Middle School and Primary School — will start within the next several weeks. Completion is anticipated by the end of January, 2012. There will be approximately 7,000 square feet of solar array per building. The arrays are anticipated to be capable of generating 32 kw of energy on a full solar day. The energy will be fed directly from the panels to each building’s electrical panel, reducing each building’s draw on the community electrical grid and lowering the District’s overall costs for electricity service.

The roof sections selected to carry the installation are relatively free of obstructions and offer the highest degree of southern exposure. The arrays are mounted on brackets on the roofs and are angled at approximately 30-degrees toward the sky. They do not follow the sun’s track across the sky. The panels are highly durable and designed to withstand high wind, hail and heavy snowfall. A minimal level of annual maintenance will be necessary.

The project also has a full educational component. Each building will have a kiosk for display of data and information about how the solar panels work. The data will include real-time measures of power generation, 12-month historical data, and comparisons to the power demands of various familiar appliances, such as computers and refrigerators. All the data will also be available online at any time for direct classroom instruction and research projects. Also included will be a 24-hour, real time weather station.

The solar project utilizes a NYSERDA grant that was originally awarded for a wind energy installation at Canandaigua Academy. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) disallowed construction of a windmill on the Academy property, citing concerns that the facility would interfere with signal acquisition for the automated FCC monitoring station located just east of the high school on North Road.

Canandaigua City School District