Going solar

Thursday, July 23, 2020
MMCRU Superintendent Dan Barkel speaks at a press conference regarding the new solar panel installation to be constructed at the high school in Marcus. The panels are expected to be installed in September at no cost to the school district. Barkel said the solar panels are expected to save the school about $700,000 in energy costs over the next 25 years.
(Photo Contributed)

MARCUS — The MMCRU High School in Marcus will be the home of a new solar energy installation which is expected to be completed in September. The project kicks off Blue Horizon Energy’s Bright Future Solar for School Program. MMCRU Superintendent Dan Barkel said this is a great opportunity for the district.

“We feel very fortunate that Blue Horizon Energy chose MMCRU to be the pilot school for the Bright Future Solar Access Program,” Barkel said. “It is truly special for MMCRU to be part of something for which we are a trailblazer. The name of the program through Blue Horizon Energy is called the Bright Future Solar Access Program. Blue Horizon hopes to use it as a springboard for helping other schools cut their energy costs, and we hope to use it as a vehicle for developing solar energy careers in our district.”

This isn’t the first installation of solar panels in the area as Blue Horizon Energy, based out of Minnetonka, Minnesota, has a system already in place at Dorr Farms near Marcus.

The cost of the project to install solar panels on the school will run in the neighborhood of $900,000. However, the school district won’t have to incur any of those costs.

“The cost of the project has been funded entirely by outside investors to whom the district will be paying the cost of the electricity generated,” Barkel said.

It is estimated the solar panels will provide electricity for 95 percent of the school’s needs according to Barkel and the solar panels will lower energy costs for the district.

“Over the course of 25 years, the Marcus school should realize a cost savings of approximately $700,000,” Barkel said.

Another benefit the school will see is an educational one, Barkel said as the school will look to add to their industrial trades experiences.

“The MMCRU Schools hope to use it as a learning lab for renewable energy and also help develop skills for our students who wish to obtain jobs in the solar energy field,” Barkel said.

Barkel concluded by saying he hopes this program will continue to grow.

“It truly was a gift for our district and we hope other schools will have similar opportunities in the near future,” Barkel said.