Dubuque School District leaders to implement solar panel program to reduce energy costs

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) – The Dubuque Community School District will install more than 200 solar panels on the roof of a local elementary school in an effort to reduce energy costs. District leaders say the project will eventually pay for itself and then save money overall through reduced energy costs.

The district has been exploring the idea of ​​reducing energy costs through solar panels for years. In fact, district leaders started a pilot program during the 2019-2020 school year in one of the buildings in the district.

Kevin Kelleher, the district’s chief financial officer, said that by installing solar panels and LED lights on a building in the district, the district was able to save about $900 a month on energy. He said that for this reason they decided to extend the project to school buildings.

They will start with elementary schools, specifically Sageville Elementary, as they are smaller buildings.

“We hope this will create savings in the general fund, which can be used for teaching, whether it’s half a teacher, supplies, curriculum,” Kelleher said. “That’s the real intention, is to take the utility savings and be able to spend them on the education of the students.”

The project itself will cost the district approximately $350,000. Kelleher said they expect to save about $30,000 a year once the panels are installed. The panels should be installed on the roof of Sageville in the spring of 2023.

Kelleher said they’ll see how the program works in Sageville before determining if it makes sense to put the signs on another school.

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