Solar Panels Installed on Top of Hayfield School

Updated: 08/13/2014 6:53 PM
Created: 08/13/2014 6:52 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 News) -- It’s taken the 'green' movement to a new level.

"Hayfield High School agreed to put a solar array on the roof of their gymnasium here" said Bill Holzer of Novel Energy Solutions, standing on top of the community school in Hayfield, Minnesota.

“We're also looking to see a better return on our energy dollars and reduce our carbon footprint," said Hayfield superintendent Belinda Selfors.

“This will produce approximately 54- to 56-thousand kilowatt hours per year," Bill Holzer explained.

“We’re looking to see this project as being fiscally responsible with the dollars our citizens have entrusted to our school district," Selfors added.

“This will power five percent of the school's needs right now," Holzer explained.

And while the cost of an array like the one on top of the school in Hayfield could run into six figures, "it's zero cost for the school, they've actually entered into an energy contract to buy the power this system produces at a rate that's 25 percent less than what they're currently paying for their electricity, so it's immediate savings to hayfield, and they're locked in for 20 years," Novel Energy Solutions CEO Cliff Kaehler explained.

And in a state that sees as many cloudy days as sunny days in an average year:

"If it's cloudy you're still going to produce electricity with this, you'll produce electricity in the winter," Holzer told us.

And for the school, the solar array isn't just about finances.

"We have a lot of interest  in the science teachers here," said Holzer, standing on top of the school in Hayfield under a cloudless August sky.

“We see this as an opportunity for our staff and our students to incorporate instruction with technology in our math and science classes," Selfors said.

"The green energy movement, especially solar and wind, is gaining huge momentum and not because of subsidies or incentives, but because the technologies are reliable and because they make financial sense," Kaehler said.

Photo: ABC 6 News