Fairmount Elementary and Albany Options School will receive covered parking areas this summer as the Albany school district expands its solar panel partnership with EnergyWise.

The Eugene company is installing solar panels on the roofs of 15 district sites and paying the district annually for the privilege. Owner Peter Greenberg wanted to add Fairmount and AOS, but neither has a roof that would work for the type of panel the company wants to install.

The Albany school board voted unanimously Monday to allow EnergyWise to build two panel-topped carports at the north end of Fairmount’s lot, a 65-kilowatt system. Fairmount is at 1005 Spring Hill Drive in North Albany.

Elevated panel systems also will flank the entrance to Albany Options, 701 19th Ave. S.E., and will run along the rear of the school, generating another 65 to 70 kilowatts, Greenberg said.

Greenberg initially had asked for a 100-kilowatt system at AOS, but board members decided the number of panels necessary would block the building from view and wouldn’t enhance the building’s aesthetics.

All said they liked the idea of covered areas close to the building, however, providing sheltered outdoor areas for students to visit and eat lunch during breaks.

Work is to start today on the panels throughout the district. Fairmount and AOS likely will go in about a month from now, Greenberg said.

EnergyWise essentially is renting roof space from the district to earn a profit by generating solar power through Oregon’s 15-year Solar Incentive Program.

EnergyWise will own and maintain the systems at no charge for 15 years. In return, the school district will receive payments of about $29,100 per year. *

Any money the district saves on its own electricity payments through the solar panels will be deducted from that payout.


*Correction: Greater Albany Public Schools stands to receive approximately $41,000 in annual payments from EnergyWise. The total payment figure was incorrect in a story Tuesday about the work because it did not take into account a board decision earlier this month to increase  the size of the system being installed at the district’s bus garage. The Democrat-Herald regrets the error.


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