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Madison High School Saves With Solar Energy

Through a grant from the Idaho Office of Energy Resources, Madison School District is becoming a little more energy efficient, and it may be footing a lower power bill.

Three hundred and eight solar panels have been installed on top of one of the buildings at Madison High School. Overall, district leaders project it will save from $9,000 – $15,000 this year alone.

It’s summer and the sun is out, perfect timing for Madison High School to install hundreds of new solar panels that may save the district thousands of dollars in the long run.

“We wanted to be on the cutting edge of going green, energy efficiency, and the second thing is we wanted to reduce our cost,” said district Superintendent Geoffrey Thomas.

The district applied for a grant this year from the state and won it for $444,000, which went directly to the project.

“We had an amazing grant writer and I think we met the criteria. We had a new building,” said Thomas.

Thomas said the panels are great for the classrooms because now teachers can show students firsthand what saving energy is all about.

“The kids can monitor how much they’re saving, and they can monitor solar output,” said Thomas.

The school will work in partnership with the Idaho Falls-based Center of Advanced Energy Studies, and together they will add alternative energy conservation studies into the curriculum of the school.

The panels add about 5 pounds of weight to every square foot of the roof on one of the buildings at Madison High.

Ian Eastman with Creative Energies has been working to install the new system for 12 days, and his team is close to wrapping up.

He said when it comes to solar panels, the cool Idaho weather is actually a positive thing.

“It’s great for cooler temperatures and higher altitude for producing higher power,” said Eastman.

This is just one of about 10 projects in the state right now being placed on schools to conserve energy.

Thomas said it’s also one of the biggest solar panel systems in eastern Idaho.

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