On May 3rd, Brightergy, a leading Missouri solar development and finance firm, was awarded a competitively bid contract to install a 25kW solar system (or array) on each of the 33 Parkway School District buildings. The 825kW total district-wide system is the largest rooftop solar project in state history.
The installations of the solar arrays across the district are scheduled over the next few months. Each individual school’s installation will take approximately two weeks.
My name is Cindy, I work for Brightergy, and I am going to be posting stories about this project on the Patch blog for the next few months. My goal through my blog posts is to inform and educate – to help solar power become an everyday part of the lives of the students, faculty and families of the Parkway School District.
The first installations on the schedule are Barretts Elementary (1780 Carman Road) and the Parkway School District' Administration building (455 South Woods Mill Road.) Both installations will start on September 25th. (A little later than the August 20th date previously reported.)
To kick off this series I thought it would be fun to first write about the solar installation process itself. This way when you see one of our orange shirted installers on the roof of a school, you will understand what is going on.
Here’s the day by day schedule of how a typical installation will go:
Each 25kW array (one per school) will take about two weeks to install.
Day 1 – Delivery of solar materials and materials lifted to roof and loaded using a crane or a forklift.
Days 2-6 - Installation of racking and roof mounted electrical equipment.
Days 5-6 – Solar panels installed.
Days 7-8 - Internal electrical wire runs and DC/AC inverter mounting
Day 9 – Electrical connections made at the indoor panel.
Day 10 -Testing of system and commissioning of equipment to ensure full functionality. The system will also be inspection by Ameren Missouri and the local municipality.
Shortly thereafter – an Internet accessible monitoring system will be installed for the solar system. This will allow anyone in the school community to check on the power production of the system 24/7.
After this point the solar power is on, working and blending in with the regular power that is drawn from the Ameren Missouri grid. The school itself will use as much solar power as is available and then draw the rest it needs from the grid. Students, teachers and staff will not notice any difference in the way their electricity works once the solar is installed – however the rest of the world will notice as the amount of fossil fuel generated energy that the Parkway schools use will decrease in direct proportion to the amount of power that is generated from the sun.
We’ll keep you posted as the school installations start happening with pictures and fun facts!
For those of you who are more visual, here are some pictures of a similar installation on a school in Kansas City:
Coming next blog post: “How does solar power work?”