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Possible solar panel project is discussed at Hamburg School Board meeting

Representatives of a local solar electric company list several benefits, including cost savings, associated with the Hamburg Central School District signing on to a power production plan, a hypothetical idea presented during Tuesday’s (June 11) meeting.

Nathan Rizzo, who is the co-founder of Solar Liberty Systems Inc. of Williamsville, estimated nearly $15,000 in annual overall cost savings to Hamburg’s district buildings under a plan in which the district would sign on with Solar Liberty. The estimate includes a scenario in which the district would pay 5 cents per kilowatt hour of service, compared to the current rate plan of 5.2 cents in which Hamburg is involved. Rizzo added that the district would incur no initial out-of-pocket expenses under an installation plan associated with Solar Liberty.

Rizzo’s company is stated as having conducted extensive solar panel installation plans with the University at Buffalo and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, having mounted the equivalent of 250,000 solar panels with the NFTA. Described as using a grid-tied photovoltaic system, Solar Liberty is noted as installing inverters that convert DC to AC power. Rizzo added that such parameters are wind tunnel tested and approved.

The benefits of such an installation system could feasibly reach the area of education, according to the co-founder of Solar Liberty. Rizzo said students would be privy to an up-close view of energy production being measured through solar means.

“There’s an educational basis behind it,” Rizzo said of the installation process.

Under an agreement with the district, Hamburg would enter into a 15-year payback plan, with Solar Liberty maintaining all system operation upon installation. A 25-year power production warranty would accompany the plan, to go along with a 10-year warrant for inverters. Rizzo estimated that 40 to 50 years’ worth of energy to be provided by Solar Liberty.

Cost savings were outlined at $108 apiece for Hamburg High and Middle schools, to go along with each of the district’s four elementary schools. Other cost savings were said to be higher for other district facilities.

Dr. Richard Jetter, who is the district’s assistant superintendent of Human Resources & Technology, described the proposed plan by Solar Liberty as being in its fact-finding stage, as the company was said to be invited to the meeting for an initial overview.

In other meeting action, the Hamburg Central School Board approved the creation of 2.0 Full Time Equivalent positions in the area of elementary teaching. The additions include 1.0 FTE positions apiece at Armor and Charlotte Avenue elementary schools, as the supplements are said to be enrollment driven.


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