Fayetteville (WSYR-TV) - The installation of more than 400 solar panels at Fayetteville-Manlius High School and Wellwood Middle School could save the school district money on its energy costs and be used as a teaching tool for students.
By the time students come back to school in September, the F-M School District is going to be a lot greener than it was in June.
The solar panels are the centerpiece of four environmentally friendly projects in the district. The cost of all four is almost $900,000 to install. With federal and state aid plus projected savings of nearly $25,000 a year in energy costs, the district says it comes out well ahead. The solar panels are designed to generate power in any season, including winter.
"As long as those panels have one aspect available with a little bit of wind, the snow will melt and it will continue to produce electricity," said F-M Assistant Superintendent, Mike Vespi.
Unlike the high school, the 200-plus solar panels on top of Wellwood Middle School can be seen by the students from the second and third floors of the school. That will be a key to the educational aspect of this project.
"What makes this project so special is that we have interactive software so that we'll be able to see real time how much electricity is being generated," said Vespi. "We hope to work with our science staff and be able to have our students have the opportunity to be able to use those numbers to be able to monitor that."
All the light soaked up by the panels travels a long way down to a converter to be turned into the power the district will use to cut its energy bill. This one green initiative could have multiple benefits for everyone in the district.
The district expects to turn on the solar panels at the end of this month. The other two projects are a solar water heater being installed at Mott Road Elementary and a waste oil heater that will be part of the district's bus garage renovation next year.