South Hunterdon Regional High School Goes Solar
South Hunterdon Regional High School in West Amwell is going green and saving a bit of green thanks to a new solar field near the school and a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the company that installed and funded the project.
The new one-megawatt solar field behind the West Amwell Township Municipal Building is now supplying the high school with almost all of its electricity needs. Construction on the four-acre site began in September, and was completed in late December 2016.
The South Hunterdon Renewable Energy Cooperative (SHREC) dates back to 2007, and a deal between the high school and now defunct Swan Creek Energy, say officials. After a rocky start, South Hunterdon School Board President Dan Seiter enlisted the expertise of school board member Craig Reading to revisit the project using a new energy company, Onyx Renewable Partners, who completely funded the solar field.
“The PPA states that the South Hunterdon School District will purchase electricity from the Onyx solar field at a fixed rate of 8.6 cents per kilowatt hour,” said Reading. “The current price being paid to Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) is 12 cents per kilowatt hour.”
Up until this past December, South Hunterdon purchased electricity from JCP&L. The school’s most recent annual bill for electric usage from JCP&L was $134,000 a year, say officials. Under the PPA with Onyx, the school is expected to pay $95,000 this year, a savings of about $39,000, and of roughly $372,000 over the 15-year agreement.
“The South Hunterdon Regional School District is both excited and thrilled that the recently-completed solar energy project will not only provide savings for energy usage at the high school, but is also aligned with the District’s commitment to a greener and more efficient campus,” said District Superintendent Louis Muenker.
The solar panels field is owned by West Amwell Township and is leased to Onyx for $422,000 over the 15-year span of the agreement. A second, and much smaller, solar field nearby is supplying the municipal complex with its electricity, according to officials.
Other South Hunterdon School Board members involved in the project include Boyd Hartpense, Celeste Mosby, Dan Seiter, Jim Gallagher, and Derek Roseman.