School Going Solar, So Can Your Office Building!

School year is now in full swing across the country, check out what this school district in Bergen County, NJ is doing to increase energy efficiencies in it’s middle and high schools. Roof-mounted panels will be installed on the school roof. This win-win solution, both for the company and the community, not only results in monetary benefits, but also provides educational experiences for the students. The sustainability initiative not only applies to educational institutions, but also commercial buildings for your office and business.

Article Credit: GreenSource, By Deena Yellin

TENAFLY — After years of discussions, the school district is moving on plans to install solar panels at its middle and high schools.

The project is aimed at cutting energy costs while adding a new learning component about energy to its curriculum.


Joseph DiCara, the architect hired to work on the project, is issuing requests for proposals for installation of solar panels on the school roofs and parking lots. The requests are likely to be issued in late October and, if bids come in, the work on the roof- mounted panels would begin in January and would take about three months, DiCara said. A carport canopy in the parking lot would likely not begin until the summer because its construction would interfere with student life, he said.


Excess electricity generated by the panels can be sold, but it is unclear at this point how much money the district could make on the solar project, said Business Administrator Lou Mondello.

“It’s based on how the solar market is doing,” Mondello said. “If someone bids, we will take it, because it means money for us. The contractor will install it on our roof and give us a percentage of the revenue from the panels.”


Now is the ideal time to go out for bids on this project because the value of the SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Credit) has recently been adjusted so that its value is higher, DiCara said.


Several of the district’s school buildings underwent roof repairs over the summer to allow the solar panels to be installed said Mondello, adding that a roof must have a life of 15 years or more in order to accommodate solar panels.


A company that wins the bid will install the system and pay for it. That company will gain various benefits from the solar panels, including tax write-offs and grants that schools are not eligible for, he said.


The plan is a win-win for the district because it would not have to spend any money on the construction but will sell back the energy at a reduced electric rate from what the district pays, Mondello said.


The plan also includes a learning component for students as there will be a monitoring system allowing students to track the amount of clean energy the schools are producing.

District Superintendent Lynn Traeger said she’s excited about the prospect: “Not only is this environmentally appropriate, it is cost effective and will provide our students with additional hands-on learning opportunities,” she said.

DiCara added, “This will be a living lab. It’s very forward- thinking.”


We are Urban Eco Group, a commercial general contractor in Atlanta, GA.  We not only build new buildings but also perform facilities maintenance and management.  We also specialize in green high performance solutions for building owners to save money on monthly building utility costs, while also improving public relations and the bottom line.Please contact us today for a free consultion or to engage us on your upcoming building project.

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One Response to School Going Solar, So Can Your Office Building!

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