West Burlington School District to install solar panels in Iowa

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The West Burlington School District in Iowa is looking to install solar panels in order to save energy costs across the elementary, junior, and senior high school buildings. Red Lion Renewables will be contracted out for this project, a solar energy company based outside Norwalk. They will assemble solar paneling on portions of roofs of the high school and elementary. They will also install a solar panel canopy on the south side of the elementary school. The West Burlington School Board gave the green light for this project during its July 19 meeting. Construction on the project is estimated to begin sometime in October.

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Red Lion Renewable will be the owners of the solar equipment and will operate the equipment, with the district paying monthly fees for the electricity generated from the solar paneling. The Iowa West Burlington school district will not be responsible for any of the project’s construction costs. Currently, the district is paying Alliant Energy monthly utility bills that range from as low as US$3,500 per month during winter and as high as US$7,000 per month during the summer likely due to cooling. The solar panels are expected to save the district up to an estimated US$11,000 a year in energy costs and between US$1.68 million and US$1.76 million over the course of 30 years.

“We sell electricity to the school. So the school is only buying electricity and allowing us to put our equipment on their roof and on their ground space. It is a 20-year contract for electricity and the school didn’t have to put up any money. And that’s why this works really well that the school has no out-of-pocket cost, other than paying their attorney to review the contract. Our goal is to help as many schools as possible in the state of Iowa to get clean energy. It helps them with their budget. It helps them immediately as well as adding predictability,” said Terry Dvorak, the CEO of Red Lion Renewables.