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Solar to Cut Costs in Attleboro schools

Green Street has built the largest roof-top solar-panel array in New England

ATTLEBORO — School officials say they believe they can save about $100,000 a year in electricity costs through a new deal to buy power from Green Street Solar Power.

Green Street has built the largest roof-top solar-panel array in New England and will sell its electricity to Attleboro schools at a 15 percent discount, CEO Scott Kerner said.

The panels are on top of an industrial building in West Bridgewater.

It will generate 4.1 megawatts of power and supply city schools with about 75 percent of its needs, he said.

The solar panels will be activated in about two months when Green Street gets the go-ahead from National Grid, Kerner said, but a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Attleboro High School Tuesday to mark the occasion.

Stuart Silberberg, a partner in the project, said he plans to also put solar panels on the roof of another one of his properties, the ice rink at New England Sports Village in Attleboro.

School Finance Director Marc Furtado said savings from solar will vary as rates go up and down, but he estimated the schools will cut utility costs by $100,000 a year because the program is subsidized by the government.

He said using solar power will contribute to a cleaner environment in addition to reducing costs.

“It’s a wonderful thing. It’s for all the right reasons. It’s not just about money,” he said.

Furtado said he got in touch with Green Street through a contact he made while working at a different school system.

Although the ribbon-cutting was celebrating solar power, it had to be moved indoors to the high school gymnasium because of rainy weather.

Mayor Kevin Dumas cut the ribbon held by Superintendent David Sawyer. Dumas said using alternative energy reduces the city’s carbon footprint.

“It’s helping our planet because global warming is something that is real,” he said.

He said he would like to bring solar power and other conservation measures to city government buildings.

Sawyer spoke of the financial benefits of the switch to solar.

“Every dollar saved on energy costs is a dollar we can invest in direct services for our students,” he said.

Principal Bill Runey, who acted as master of ceremonies at the event, said later that Green Street has a curriculum about solar energy that will be given to students in a course about science and public policy.

Students and teachers from that course attended the ceremonies and the students spoke about their project replacing foam plates in the cafeteria with environmentally-friendly plates.

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