by Shelby Soule
Construction that began on May 24 to outfit Whitney Elementary School with its own solar electric system is close to completion. The last of the 363 solar modules has been put into place on Owyhee St., and photovoltaic inverters, which are scheduled to arrive next week, are the last elements necessary to put the system online by June 25.
Whitney’s solar electric system will be regulated through something called "net metering," which operates on a local utility grid, crediting the school for unused energy and allowing access to the grid during times when consumption overtakes solar production.
It is estimated that over the course of a year, the input of solar energy will save the school thousands of dollars in energy costs. Additionally, data collected from the solar panels will act as the foundation for a Renewable Energy class that will be offered to students in the coming school year.
In total, more than $2.7 million in federal grants were awarded to Idaho nine schools to develop solar projects.