inter-lakes-hs-array_smMeredith, N.H. (December 8, 2016) — A public ribbon-cutting and tour are scheduled on December 14 at Inter-Lakes High School in Meredith, N.H. The event will showcase the school district’s significant renewable energy projects, including one of the largest solar energy projects of its kind at a New Hampshire school. ReVision Energy’s James Hasselbeck will be there to lead tours.

A series of renewable energy projects have transformed the Inter-Lakes School District (ILSD) into one of the most energy-diverse school districts in New Hampshire. One of the major improvements is a 345.6-kilowatt, ground-mounted solar electric array. The grid-tied array consists of 960 solar panels and was commissioned this fall.

A decade ago, the school district’s facilities and energy infrastructure needed improvements, all to better manage energy costs. The district worked with Honeywell, which assisted in charting a decade-long effort to overhaul its energy infrastructure. The school district divided its energy and facilities goals into two phases.

Phase I improvements focused on the district’s buildings – weatherization, lighting upgrades, replacement of inefficient and failing HVAC systems and installation of building controls. The $2.3 million improvements in Phase I were funded by grants and the energy savings generated by efficiency improvements. The improvements reduce oil consumption by approximately 50 percent (48,000 gallons per year), electric consumption by approximately 38 percent (700,456 kilowatt hours per year) and set the stage for Phase II. Phase II improvements are focused on the installation of sustainable technologies and are expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

Phase II projects include:

• Installation of wood pellet boiler systems
• Installation of grid-tied solar electric systems
• Installation of a solar hot water system
• Removal and replacement of all existing windows and exterior doors
• Replacement of interior and exterior lights with LED lamps

When Phase II work is completed, the district will have:

• Reduced its oil consumption to near zero
• Reduced energy costs by 40 percent
• Provided 46 percent of baseline energy needs by renewable energy sources
• Replaced 71 percent of baseline oil usage by renewable energy sources
• Replaced 35 percent of baseline electricity use by renewable energy sources
• Created most diverse energy infrastructure of any school district in the state
• Integrated renewable energy and sustainability efforts into classroom curriculum
• Improved building safety, comfort and performance
• Self-funded more than $4.7 million of capital improvements without increasing current budget

ReVision Energy installed the 345.6-kilowatt array. It generates 100 percent of the high school’s electricity and is located near an athletic field at Inter-Lakes High School. The array was commissioned in October and is expected to produce approximately 401.6 megawatt hours of electricity per year.

The solar power generated by the array is equivalent to offsetting the carbon dioxide emissions of 422 barrels of oil or 39 passenger vehicles each year. The power generated by the array is equivalent to offsetting the electricity use of more than 40 homes.

If all 960 solar panels were laid flat on the football field, the array would cover nearly half of the field—from the goal line to the 42-yard line. If the panels were laid end-to-end lengthwise, they would measure 6,173 feet—more than one mile. It would take a world record holder four minutes to run from one end of the panels to the other—about 4 ½ laps around a track.

Excess electricity generated by the array is fed back to the grid following New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s (NHEC) program for member-installed net metered generation. The array is the largest to date in the NHEC service territory.

ReVision Energy also installed solar energy systems at two other sites in the school district:

• A 17.1-kilowatt solar electric array was installed this year on the roof of Sandwich Central School in Center Sandwich. The two, 30-panel arrays are expected to produce 20.25 megawatt hours of solar power each year.

• A solar hot water system was installed last year on the roof of Inter-Lakes Elementary School in Meredith. The eight solar hot water collectors, which can heat 350 gallons of hot water per day, offset approximately 240,000 BTUs per day or an average of 78,000,000 BTUs per year.

Inter-Lakes School District was recognized in June by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) as a 2016 Northeast Business Leader for Energy Efficiency for its efforts to foster the economy and to protect the environment via its commitment to energy efficiency.