From this week’s Southside Sentinel: The Middlesex County School Board agreed at its June 12 meeting to work toward having a feasibility study of a potential solar panel project that would be located on the grounds behind Middlesex Elementary School in Locust Hill.


School superintendent Dr. Peter Gretz informed the board he and a team of Middlesex school representatives had recently visited Albemarle County to review “what is, to date, the most comprehensive solar project in a school division in the state of Virginia.”


He said Albemarle schools are saving about $8,000 annually in fuel costs—about double what they had anticipated. The energy produced by solar is being sold back to the power company, which reflects a savings in annual fuel costs for the school system.


Dr. Gretz noted that the cost of installing solar panels would not cost the county but would be covered by a third party vendor. The third party vendor receives tax benefits to offset the cost, he said.


The school board also agreed to meet with county officials to work together on an overall solar project and authorized Dr. Gretz to consult legal counsel in the development of a request for proposals (RFP) from outside firms so the board can further evaluate the potential of a solar power project.


Dr. Gretz said several other school systems in the state are moving toward solar power in an effort to be more “green” and to save money.