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ribbon cutting
Members of the school’s sustainability committee cutting the ribbon at last Saturday’s open house.

On Saturday, May 21st, Monona Grove High School held an open-house to display its new solar array. The high school located in Monona, WI, now is home to the largest solar array on a K-12 facility in the state.

The event was packed with guests, and was a captivating end to a momentous project. The project will produce roughly 50% of the high school’s energy needs, replacing coal-fired electricity.

Additionally, the array is cash-flow positive, meaning that it will generate savings within the first year. In its 30 year lifetime, the district is expected to save $1.5 Million dollars.

Furthermore, the array will prevent the release of 31,000 tons of carbon dioxide, and 44,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide emissions, both of which are extremely harmful to the atmosphere.

Peter Sobol, the chairman of the school’s sustainability committee remarked, “There’s no downsides to this decision to do this. It saves money, it’s good for the environment, it’s a positive message for students, it’s an educational message for students!”

solar panels on school roof
The solar array covers 2⁄3 of the high school’s rooftop.

Sobol went on to proclaim, "We're giving a message to the kids and the students in this building that we're serious about doing our part to solve the problems that we have both financially and with greenhouse gas emissions and environmental sustainability.”

The initiative rings a bell to schools around Wisconsin. The panels in Monona are financially beneficial to the district, and preserve the environment while generating reliable energy. The Monona Grove school district has accomplished this enterprise with the hope that other schools will follow suit.

The panels are set to be completed before graduation, and will begin to produce energy during the blazing summer months.


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