Imagine transforming the endless power of the sun into substantial savings, all while educating future leaders on sustainability and innovative energy solutions. Hamilton Southeastern Schools (HSE) did just that! In a stride toward energy conservation, they’ve managed to not only lighten the load on the planet but also on their finances.
HSE installed solar arrays in September of 2019 at three different schools: Sand Creek Elementary, Sand Creek Intermediate and Hamilton Intermediate and Junior High.
Between the three schools, a total of 4,800 solar panels were installed for a price of $2,806,317.
Prior to HSE’s solar installations, the schools used an average of 3,270,539 kWh of power each year. In 2022, just 846,896 kWh of power was purchased — which helped save nearly $350,000 in yearly energy costs.
In 2022, energy rates spiked — increasing from 8-10 cents per kWh to nearly 15 cents per kWh. For a school system the size of HSE, an increase of this amount would have a dramatic impact if not for the solar energy they use.
As energy costs are on the rise, HSE sees this implementation as cost-efficient and important for avoiding potential additional cost increases.
During the summer months when the panels are over-producing energy, the neighborhoods behind the schools will benefit from the solar power.
These new energy-efficient additions have sparked solar-focused educational efforts among HSE teachers. Several educators have incorporated topics related to the arrays into their curriculum and teaching lessons on electricity, sustainability, graphing, energy resources, legislation, and STEM.
HSE’s solar power additions were completed under a Guaranteed Energy Savings Contract (GESC) — an agreement between a qualified provider and building owner to reduce energy and operating costs of a building by a specified amount.
Through the implementation of solar power, the HSE school district has been able to reduce energy while saving on increasing power costs. Learn more on the HSE Schools website.
Marissa Muljat is a Public Relations and Community Engagement intern for the City of Fishers. She grew up on the West Coast in Lynden, Washington, and is currently a senior at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. Marissa is double majoring in multimedia journalism and public relations and is heavily involved in Taylor’s student newspaper, The Echo. Outside of her internship, you can find Marissa baking with friends, going for a walk, or exploring new coffee shops. She loves the excitement and liveliness that Fishers has to offer and has enjoyed getting to know the city in deeper ways!