With the new voter approved solar panel system now up and running on the Bishop Elementary Schools, listeners have asked for additional details on how the finances for the project work out.
In November 2008, Bishop voters approved a bond measure to install photovoltaic solar panels at the Elm St. and Pine St. Elementary Schools.
We spoke with Bishop Schools Superintendent Barry Simpson about the numbers. He explained that the district sold $2.6 million in bonds. The bond measure was also designed to pay for new air conditioning and other energy saving infrastructure needs. With money set aside for those projects, Simpson says that the district spent $2.1 million on the solar panels.
The new solar panels are expected to meet the energy needs of the schools, which should save the district $75,000 a year on their Edison power bill. The power bill comes straight out of the districts general fund, so this money can go directly back into the classrooms, Simpson says.
In addition to the savings on the power bill, Simpson says that rebates from the State of California are expected to pay up to $200,000 a year for the next five years based on a rate of $.37 a kilowatt hour. After these rebates run out, the system will continue to bring money to the schools through savings.
The system is said to be able to last 25 years and should take 12-13 years to be paid off.