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Owen J. Roberts School District (PA) Flips The Switch on 2,200 Solar Panels

OJR schools flip the switch on solar energy

  • By Laura Catalano
    Journal Register News Service

Posted: 11/15/12 12:01 am
Updated: 11/15/12 01:05 pm

OJR Wildcat mascot flips the ceremonial switch to commence the solar energy system at the OJR Middle School. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman, The Mercury)

SOUTH COVENTRY — Owen J. Roberts School District students, staff and community members got really energized about energy conservation on Wednesday at a “Flip the Switch” ceremony at the middle school.
During the ceremony, the district turned on the power to more than 2,200 solar panels recently mounted on the middle school and high school roofs. The event took place in a courtyard under cloudless skies, and a meter proved that the 525 kW solar voltaic array had immediately begun capturing solar energy.
Who flipped the ceremonial switch? None other than the OJR mascot, The Wildcat himself. But the actual switch, attached to high voltage machinery, was turned on nearby by an official from Johnson Controls, the company that installed the system.
The solar panels will now begin producing 30 percent of the energy needs of the high school and middle school campus, which also includes the administration building. But the solar array, while innovative and exciting, is not the only energy conservation measure the district has undertaken. In fact, the solar component is the centerpiece of a much larger, district-wide energy conservation initiative. The initiative has a strong educational component, with an Academy of Energy Education program that includes hands-on materials and other teaching tools for K-12 learning, provided by Johnson Controls as part of the project contract.
In addition, the contract included a number of energy conservation measures, such as lighting modifications, mechanical upgrades and a string of building efficiency projects that have already been undertaken.
Altogether, the solar panels combined with the energy conservation measures, will result in an annual reduction in the district’s energy use equivalent to that produced by more than 200 homes, according to information provided by the district. What’s more, the district’s carbon footprint will be decreased by the equivalent of carbon sequestered in 537 acres of pine forest.

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