This summer, there will be some powerful changes at Hopewell Valley Central High School to be completed by the time classes resume in the fall.
Over the summer, PSE&G will be installing solar photovoltaic array system (PV system) over a portion of one of the high school parking lots as well as on the roof.
“PSE&G reached out to HVRSD specifically because of our sustainability efforts and we are proud to be the first school in Mercer County to be asked,” said HVRSD Superintendent Dr. Tom Smith. “We are excited by this project and we hope that our participation will pave the way for future solar projects in our district.”
The portion over the parking lot would consist of five canopy islands on structural steel columns and reinforced concrete footings which would be mostly confined to the existing footprint of the parking lot. The total height of these canopies will be approximately 15′ 6″, about the same height as the existing light posts. A new lighting system will be installed underneath the canopies, as well as security cameras.
In the process of erecting the canopy, seven trees will be removed from the high school property but will be replaced in accordance with the Township’s tree replacement ordinance.
The solar system will be connected directly into the PSE&G electrical grid and will charge the battery backup during normal operation. However, during a power outage, the system will automatically disconnect from the grid and will provide power to selected circuits at HVCHS.
“PSE&G is basically renting space from use to generate electricity for the grid,” explained Dr. Smith. “In return, we receive a yearly lease payment that increases at 2% each year for 20 years, a battery back-up system for CHS, and assistance in upgrading our electrical service at CHS. The entire project will be done at no cost to the district. At the end of 20 years, they will remove the system and restore everything back to its original state, or we can buy the system.”
Providing an additional place to shelter, in the case of an emergency, in Hopewell Township could be a real benefit.
“During hurricane sandy, the Township was looking for sheltering places,” said Dr. Smith. “This will allow us to support the community in the event of a natural disaster. People can recharge their phones and can shower.”
Construction will occur over the summer and will be completed in time for the start of the fall 2015 school year.