Community Solar Project Begins Construction at Elementary School

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Community Solar

A North Carolina high school has become part of a community solar project after six years of development. Sundance Power Systems was originally awarded a contract for a new solar project in 2015 but faced funding issues and was unable to move forward with construction. Financing from the facility, which will be installed at Isaac Dickson Elementary School, came from fundraising spearheaded by Sundance and the Appalachian Offsets program of the Green Built Alliance nonproit.

Over the past few years, the community came together to provide funding for the project, which will help power the school using the low-cost energy option. Over the past 26 years, Sundance Power Systems has cultivated a portfolio of community solar projects that have helped communities throughout North Carolina achieve renewable energy. The partnership between the power developer and Appalachian Offsets has resulted in what will be the first real community solar project in the Asheville and Western North Carolina region.

Appalachian Offsets works with clean energy programs and funding upgrades to create more efficient energy generation. Green Built started the program to help Western North Carolina low-income households, small businesses, and school districts receive access to lower-cost renewable energy options.

Fundraising for the new community solar project was completed in Q4 2019. More than 100 donors helped raise money for the solar facility, Sam Ruark-Eastes, executive director of GreeN Built Alliance, stated.

The Isaac Dickson community solar project was conceptualized by Innovative Designa nd Legerton Architecture and recently started 11 weeks of construction. The project is scheduled for completion by mid-May. After completion, the facility will be equipped with 300-kilowatts of arrays totally $428,000. It’s expected that the facility will result in a $30,000 reduction in the school’s yearly utility bills. The project is planned for a 30-year lifespan and $1.3 million in savings.

The school district also hopes to use the facility to teach students about renewable energy, the community solar project, and the installation process.


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