Tilton Solar Project: School Committee Votes Tonight

The Roof of Haverhill City Hall

The future of all energy lies in sustainable and green power. This is almost an undisputed fact — not only because of the environmental benefits, but because of the economic ones too. We’re in an ongoing mission to bring solar power into Haverhill. Multiple projects have already been completed that are bringing both savings for our local government and for the environment. The newest project brought to the city is an array of panels that would go on top of the Tilton school. The School Committee will vote on the project tonight, as it has already received the green (no pun intended) light from the City Council.

The Proposed Tilton project would add the first panels onto a roof that could “land a jumbo jet on it,” which should remove all doubt as to whether the weight of the panels will strain the roof. The project would power the school, while also providing an educational component for students in the Mt. Washington school. The project for the Tilton School will produce 88,500 Kilowatts at 10.5 cents a KWH. This will result in a savings of at least $7,500 annually. The installation and setup of the panels comes at no cost to Haverhill, therefore there are only benefits to the project. It is our sincere hope that the School Committee effectively passes this project and makes way for both economic and environmental savings, along with the opportunity for students at Tilton to be exposed to inner workings of renewable energy.

Here are just two other projects that have recently been approved by the City Council:

  • Haverhill City Hall will have a 170.1 KW system installed on its upper roof by Solect Energy. The system is expected to produce 205,000 KWh annually. The city will be purchasing the power off the system for 7.75 cents a Kilowatt Hour (KWH). It is expected to go live before 12/31/2016. The average rates are 12 cents a KWH, so this is a bargain. The project will power an estimated 50% of City Hall’s energy.
  • The Police Headquarters has a 58 KW system installed on its roof from Mass American Energy. The system produces 75,000 KWH annually. The City will be purchasing the power off the system for 9.25 cents a KWH. The system is expected to go live before the new year.

Nonetheless, here is a project that we had scheduled to move forward with, but failed to pass the School Committee:

  • Haverhill High School would have received a new roof for free — valued at almost $3 million dollars, after the City Council approved a solar project set to be installed this past summer. As many parents, teachers and students know, the roof at HHS is in need of repair. The project would not only solve the problem, but save taxpayer money. Additionally, the solar project at HHS was projected to save another $7 million in energy cost savings, over the course of twenty years for the taxpayers of Haverhill. That is a total of $10 million dollars we lost out on, after three members on the school committee decided to turn the project down.

It is my hope that at least one of the three school committee members changes their vote tonight, in order to provide Tilton with solar energy, save taxpayer dollars, and lessen our carbon emissions.