Sustainability efforts within and around D-E's campus have been ongoing for more than five years. Through donations made specifically to develop a solar energy program at D-E and funding from the state of New Jersey, the $28,000.00 installation of 18 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of Pope Science Hall was made possible in 2006. The solar panels produce approximately 3.1 kilowatts of power, totaling to about 3600 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, and saving the school approximately $440.00 per year in energy costs. D-E also receives income from utilities that are required by the state to pay for renewable energy production, amounting to about $740.00 per year. In addition, the school receives money from selling Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) earned by producing clean energy. The price varies from year to year, but so far the school has earned over $9000 from this credit.
The Schenck Auditorium and Imperatore Library, which share one electrical meter, are partially powered by the new solar energy system. The energy created by the solar panels emits no noise or pollution and is one of the best-known alternatives to CO2 producing fossil fuels. The school’s system saves approximately one to two pounds of CO2 per kilowatt-hour amounting to several tons each year.
Upper School Science teacher Don McNeil spearheaded the solar energy project. “The challenges of finding economically and environmentally sustainable sources of energy are among the most important concerns for our students to understand,” said Mr. McNeil. “Having a full-scale solar energy project will allow our students to learn about crucial energy issues in the most effective way possible—first hand experience and data analysis. They will then be better prepared to make sound energy choices as consumers and as leaders in the future.”
Head of School Dr. Rodney V. De Jarnett echoed these sentiments, adding: “The installation of solar technology at D-E provides an unparalleled educational opportunity for our students as well as help protect our environment and cut energy costs. We are grateful to our donors and the state of New Jersey for helping us to obtain this innovative learning tool that will also benefit the greater community.”
The new solar energy installation provides students in the Upper and Middle Schools with an excellent educational resource to which few students throughout the state have access.
Mr. McNeil welcomes your questions and comments. Please contact him by email at email@example.com or by phone at 201-569-9500, ext. 3604.