In a recent meeting, the Glen Rock School Board explored a leap towards more sustainable energy practices, considering a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that could translate energy savings into budget-neutral capital improvements. The board dedicated a portion of the meeting to understanding this Energy Savings Improvement Plan (ESIP) presented by representatives from CERS Engineering and Design and DCO Energy.
Derek Jordan, from CERS Engineering, introduced the concept of ESIP, and Greg Burns, from DCO Energy, explained how it would enable the district to finance capital improvements without burdening taxpayers. Essentially, the district’s current utility budget would be redirected to fund these improvements. Burns emphasized that regulations require the program to be cash-positive every year, not just at the end of the term.
DCO Energy also provides an energy savings guarantee, which was a point of interest for the board. Burns outlined three capital project options available to school districts: ESIP, lease purchase, and referendum, with ESIP being the most taxpayer-friendly option. Under the ESIP, the district’s current utility spend would be significantly cut, and the savings would be allocated over a period of 15-20 years to fund improvements.
The board was also introduced to a visual matrix of potential energy conservation measures that could be installed or replaced to save energy. Particular attention was paid to lighting upgrades, identified as the area with the most significant potential for savings.
One of the key points of discussion was the concept of a Solar Power Purchase Agreement. Burns explained that such an agreement would allow the district to lease its roof space for solar panels at no cost, reducing electricity rates and further funding capital improvements. He indicated plans to submit interconnection applications to the utility company and suggested seeking board approval to bid out a solar PPA.
In addition to the sustainability initiative, the board addressed several other topics, including a review of student performance data, possible changes to the school calendar, and a recent audit. Notably, the audit showed a clean opinion on the district’s financial statements, and the district was offered $1.9 million in federal funds.
The board also discussed the performance of elementary schools in the district, noting improvements at the Bird School and the success of the ‘Inspire’ program in enhancing students’ achievements in science and engineering practices.
The meeting concluded with an agreement to conduct a private site assessment for security purposes, despite the $6,000 cost, due to the importance of timely information for the district’s budget and security goals.