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Local

Sauk board discusses installing solar array

DIXON – Sauk Valley Community College wants credit where credit is due: on its roof

College officials are considering a plan to tap into the state’s Solar Renewable Energy Credit to install several thousand square feet of solar panels atop the college.

During the college’s board of trustees meeting Tuesday, Steve Nunez, vice president of research, planning, and information affairs at Sauk, said the college is looking at installing a 100-kilowatt solar farm, which would not only reduce the college’s carbon footprint, but its energy costs, to the tune of an estimated $16,000 per year.

The plan’s cost hasn’t yet been determined, but Nunez said the college would pay for the panels in part with money from the state’s Solar Renewable Energy Credit fund, which will become available Jan. 1.

“Every time we pay our electric bill, a small portion of that is taken by the state and put into a fund for projects like this,” Nunez said, and the state is ready to distribute that money back to institutions that want to reduce their carbon footprint by installing solar panels. The money would be spread out over 5 years, and the college would be in line for approximately $31,000 a year.

Nunez said that money, combined with anticipated energy savings, would help pay for the solar array.

The plan calls for about 6,000 square feet of solar panels on the college’s roof, which raised concerns with some board members who wondered whether the panels would present problems should the college need to make any roof repairs. Concerns also were raised about the panel’s maintenance costs.

Frank Murphy, director of facilities at Sauk, said the maintenance costs should be low, and as far as other concerns,he’s reaching out to a resource close to home to discuss the project and get feedback: Wahl Clipper. Murphy’s been discussing the project with officials at Wahl, where a large solar power array was installed at the company’s Sterling headquarters in 2013.

The board plans to discuss the project at future meetings.

NEXT MEETING

The Sauk Valley Community College Board of Trustees next meets at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 at the college, 173 state Route 2. Go to svcc.edu/about/board-of-trustees/meetings.html for agendas and more information.

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