Solar could be coming to Cheatham County Schools!
The Cheatham County School District is currently considering a partnership with an energy management company to install solar panels onto the roofs of the school buildings or grounds. This could be a win-win situation. The investment company pays for the purchase, installation and all maintenance of the panels. The electricity is then sold to the local power company (CEMC or Dickson Electric). The investor pays rent to the schools for use of its property. If fully instituted, the district is hoping to save about 10% off it’s budget for electricity. Currently, this is the way this works:
- A third party company (because of available solar tax credits) has the solar system installed at no cost to the schools,
- There are no maintenance costs for the schools because the third party maintains their own system,
- There is a guaranteed performance contract (with savings – most likely as rent – for the schools) for a mutually agreed upon term (up to 20 years),
- The schools will gain short- AND long-term savings, and,
- The generated electricity goes to either Cumberland (CEMC) or Dickson Electric to most likely serve the school and surrounding neighborhoods.
The time is right for Cheatham County to take advantage of this opportunity and lead the way in Tennessee. This is truly cutting edge and the benefits are many:
- Our Cheatham County Schools will not have to pay any upfront costs, just provide the rooftops and grounds
- Our students will experience solar power through a school curriculum that teaches STEM components and we could even have a Career Technical Education component where students could receive solar certifications
- This would be great for our community economic development and for the electric companies for providing this service
- We would be the first rural school district with a multi-Megawatt solar system in Tennessee!
Shine on Cheatham!