Solar canopy could save money while educating students

By Brian Evans - For the Gazette

CEDARVILLE — Cedar Cliff Local School officials are considering the many benefits of building a solar canopy.

What’s a solar canopy?

“It’s like a car port,” Superintendent Chad Mason said after the district’s board meeting Tuesday night. “It would have long poles holding up a metal roof that would have solar panels on it. It’d be a great place to put the buses.”

The solar panels would generate electricity for the school’s garage, officials said, while the canopy itself would protect the district’s eight buses, which are being parked outside, from the elements while also providing a more ideal ground for driver’s during pre-route inspections.

And in addition to generating power, the solar panels would provide an ideal real-world lab for science students studying solar energy.

“We are investigating this,” Mason said. “But it seems like a win-win-win.”

In the planning phase of this project, school officials reached out to a Tipp City outfit – via Energy Optimizers USA.

“They have worked with area schools and been to our conferences,” Mason said. “It’s part of a federal program to try to encourage energy efficiency.

“We first approached them six months ago … We had the idea for the canopy, but we want to tie it together with solar to reduce our electric bill.”

Preliminary designs include a solar lab for educational purposes.

“Right now we are trying to decide,” Mason said. “Once we get this drawn up, how much is it going to cost and is it worth it?

“We want to save enough money and with possible investors it will cost the district very little.”

The next step in this “solar canopy” project is to consult with an architect.

“Right now we have a lot of variables,” Mason said, explaining they are nowhere near knowing an estimated dollar amount cost.

“We are far enough along that we have asked them to give us a rendering and proposal.

Cedar Cliff Local Board of Education meets again at 5 p.m. Monday, March13.

By Brian Evans

For the Gazette

Brian Evans is a freelance writer, and can be reached at [email protected]

Brian Evans is a freelance writer, and can be reached at [email protected]