Solar farm coming to North Liberty Elementary School

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 5:21 PM EST
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NORTH LIBERTY, Ind. (WNDU) - There are plenty of farms in the North Liberty area but nothing quite like this.

“By March we hope that the proverbial switch will be flipped, and we’ll be producing our own energy by March,” John Glenn School Superintendent Christopher Winchell told 16 News Now.

Work is set to begin next Tuesday on a $700,000 farm that will produce solar power. “This is a half a megawatt system and the cost on that is $700,000. We expect to make that money up over the course of about eight to ten years because this system will provide between 90 and 100 percent of our electrical needs here at North Liberty.”

Soon the number of students on the grounds of North Liberty Elementary School will be eclipsed by the number of solar panels.

846 panels will be installed on a half-acre lot behind the playground, between a football field and a baseball diamond.

The project is expected to be a game changer in many ways.

“This is a component that we teach our students about renewable resources, about solar panels, about turbines, and the ability for us to have this on site and use it as a hands-on components it puts the text to reality,” said North Liberty Elementary Randy Romer.

In the John Glenn district, the power production technology will come along with energy saving improvements like new windows, LED light fixtures and new HVAC systems.

And it’s hoped the commitment to sustainability won’t end there “and that there might even be some mini-farm type projects here, a mini-crop, a mini-coup of chickens, things of that nature where the kids can really have some hands on,” Winchell explained.

The solar farm project is one part of a plan to make $5 million worth of improvements at the district’s two elementary schools.

Winchell said the $5 million bond did not increase taxes because a previous project was coming off the tax rolls.

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