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Seven Worthington Schools to Receive Free Solar Power
by Staff Writers
Columbus OH (SPX) Oct 25, 2012

Currently, three Worthington Schools, in addition to Evening Street, use solar panels to generate a portion of their power.

Seven Worthington schools will receive free power from the sun thanks to a new partnership between the school district and a local nonprofit organization. Worthington Schools is working with Solar Cascade to install solar panels on the selected schools. The panels, funded through individual and corporate donations, will provide free, clean solar power to each school for up to 50 years, the lifetime of the panels.

Solar, a Worthington-based 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, was created specifically to fund and install large-scale solar on schools, colleges, not-for-profits, hospitals, and other community locations.

Schools selected by district officials for solar gifts include: Colonial Hills Elementary, Linworth, McCord Middle School, Phoenix Middle School, Slate Hill Elementary, Worthington Hills Elementary, and Worthington Kilbourne High School.

Worthington Schools estimate each system will save over $100,000, saving the district more than $700,000 over the life of the solar panels

Tim Gehring Director, Facility Management "I am pleased we have been presented this opportunity to expand our existing solar infrastructure," Gehring, said. "We hope this is just a start of a process that will enable us to add more solar as Solar Cascade grows and develops. Worthington Schools is receiving a gift of solar systems at no cost to our taxpayers and without any future maintenance expenses from out general fund. We will own a system which will only gain value as utility rates continue to increase in the coming decades," he added.

Currently, three Worthington Schools, in addition to Evening Street, use solar panels to generate a portion of their power.

Free power isn't the only benefit from the new project: the solar panels provide learning opportunities as well as students see and learn firsthand about the benefits and energy savings solar power is providing to their school.

Fundraising via Solar's website is already underway for the seven schools. Once a project site accumulates $50,000 in donations, installation of the solar panels can begin. Donations in any amount can be made by individuals, groups and businesses.

Worthington resident Thomas Van Cleef, founder and executive director of Solar, said he started the nonprofit organization to help bring clean solar power and financial savings to schools and other community organizations that need it most.

"Schools and other deserving organizations get energy and savings," Van Cleef said. "Solar panels for these schools provide a lasting gift of sunshine for fifty years."

Worthington School Board President Jennifer Best said the district is looking forward to more buildings with solar panels. "This project will provide additional learning opportunities for our students, be good for the environment, and save money."

Solar is partnering with Solar by Soldiers, which hires and trains military veterans, to install the panels.

Tax deductible donations for solar panels for Worthington Schools can be given online.


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