Meadowview Magnet Middle School
This educational 5.2 kW top-of-pole solar electric system was installed as part of NC GreenPower’s Solar Schools pilot program. It consists of twelve 435 SunPower modules atop a DPW mounting solution, with inverter and monitoring by SMA.
As featured in our June 2016 newsletter:
A beautiful sunny afternoon on June 9 made for a great day at Meadowview Magnet Middle School in Mt Airy, NC, when students, staff, and members of the community gathered to celebrate their school’s new solar installation. The first in NC GreenPower’s Solar Schools Pilot to be installed, this impressive top-of-pole 5 kW photovoltaic system stands tall as an educational demonstration of the energy readily available to us from the sun.
NC GreenPower, a nonprofit operating with the mission to “improve the quality of the environment in North Carolina through a statewide program that connects consumers with green energy and carbon offset providers” has been greatly instrumental in establishing solar energy in NC by offering incentives to clean energy generators. A vast majority of Sundance’s early solar electric systems were NC GreenPower participants, as were we when we installed our first 10 kW system on our office building in 2008. With the launch of the Solar Schools pilot, funds can now be allocated to support solar installations at schools.
The funding mechanism behind this pilot includes 50% of the project’s cost (up to $10,000) to be provided by NC GreenPower, with schools fundraising for the additional monies. In addition, the State Employees Credit Union Foundation provides a matching challenge grant of $10,000, allowing for larger installations. Meadowview Magnet’s success in their campaign resulted in funding for a 5.2 kilowatt solar electric system that will be integrated into the curriculum as a learning tool as it generates electricity for their use.
As high visibility of the array was a requirement of the program, a ground- mounted DPW top- of -pole system was designed for the installation. In total, twelve high- efficiency 435 watt SunPower modules make up the impressive array, which is tilted at 30 degrees for maximum yearly production, and sits 10 feet above grade to avoid wire tampering. (View a time-lapse video clip of the installation here!) The array is estimated to produce about 6,570 kilowatt hours each year with a potential cost savings to the school of $657 annually. It is net-metered with Duke Energy and system monitoring is available to the staff and students for educational purposes. A weather station is also included so the effects of weather on the system’s production can be analyzed as part of the curriculum.
In a news article in Mt. Airy News, Jeff Edwards, the Coordinator of the Science Institute and Surry County Schools, says there is so much that kids can learn about solar energy, and he is excited that the raw data will be available for analysis. One potential activity he is planning for will be to compare data from Meadowview’s system with the other three schools in the initial pilot once their systems are online.
NC GreenPower recently announced the selection of five additional schools for the next round of the pilot program and anticipate another application cycle in early 2017. To support this program, or to learn more, visit NCGreenPower.org.