GCSD goes solar; cutting carbon footprint in half and saving taxpayers millions

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Wednesday morning at the district’s new solar farm, located on Becker Road in Altamont.

The big moment with the big scissors!              To view a video of the ribbon-cutting (and celebrating) visit our district Facebook page.

Members of the Guilderland Central School District, along with students, Board of Education members, and community members gathered to celebrate the 22-acre solar site built by ForeFront Power.

The solar farm is expected to produce 3.3 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean electricity annually. Through the solar farm, the district will be offsetting 58% of its annual energy consumption and reducing operating expenses by an estimated $4.5 million over a 20-year period. 

“While I’m a firm believer in doing what we can to save our planet, solar is a great way for our community and taxpayers to save money,” said Cliff Nooney, GCSD Energy Manager and Director of Facilities. “Additionally, solar presents many educational opportunities for our students.”

Several elementary and middle school classes were in attendance and participated in a competitive word search and engaged in conversations with the ForeFront team about renewable energy. 

Impacting Future Generations

For the district, the solar impact goes beyond savings. Students across the district will gain a new perspective of where their energy comes from thanks to the new ability to take field trips to the solar farm and access live production monitoring via kiosks.

For teachers, the science behind solar fits well within our schools’ existing curriculum, and science classes will have the opportunity to examine the renewable energy that’s being generated for the district. 

Members of the ForeFront Power team followed the ceremony with a visit to Lynnwood Elementary, to Tim Fry’s fifth-grade classroom.

Fry said the day’s experience was, and will continue to be worthwhile for students:

“There are many mathematical and scientific applications that can be pulled out of this project. We now have access to a website that is tracking energy produced from the solar farm. This website will allow myself (and other district teachers) to tap into the graphs collected. Students can compare the energy produced and compare variables such as weather, cloud cover, and time of year. I plan to use this real-world data in our graphing units.”

At the follow-up visit to Mr. Fry’s class, he said, “some really interesting information was discussed, like how the angle of the sun as it hits New York directly determines the angle the solar panels must be installed. This directly ties to the fifth and sixth-grade curriculum (Earth’s Place in the Universe).”

“The kids also loved the giant scissors and having their pictures taken!”

It was a beautiful day and a wonderful ceremony! For updates on the district’s solar farm, please visit our website. To view previous progress updates and learn more about the solar farm, read our first solar farm story here

GCSD community members gather to cut the ribbon

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