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Some 588 solar panels installed on six Meramec Valley R-III School District buildings began supplying electricity last week.

The new 25-kilowatt solar power roof installations at Coleman, Nike, Truman and Zitzman elementary schools, along with Meramec Valley Middle School and Pacific High School, are expected to save the district $212,730 over the next 10 years.

“Students, parents, faculty and staff in the district will have the satisfaction of knowing that a portion of the energy used to maintain daily school operations is produced on school grounds using 100 percent carbon-free renewable energy,” said Superintendent Randy George.

George cut a celebratory ribbon May 11 in front of a panel in the Pacific High School lobby surrounded by the PHS Student Council members, district technology and maintenance staff members, Tom Sauvage, PHS principal, and representatives from StraightUp Solar, the St. Louis-based company which installed the panels.

The firm had representatives on hand to introduce the new power source to students and explain the mounted display monitor that provides real-time solar energy output and benefits along with additional messages about the district’s sustainability efforts. A display monitor will be installed in each of the buildings.

Sauvage said the district is proud to become part of the StraightUp Solar’s tribe and support the ongoing commitment to conservation.

In a recent newsletter, the principal quoted developmental psychologist Jean Piaget to describe the district’s commitment to sustainability.

“The principal goal of education is to create individuals who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done,” Piaget said.

The combined 179-kilowatt capacity of the 588 Renesola 305-watt solar modules is expected to produce over 220 MWh of electricity and offset over a quarter million pounds of CO2 emissions per year than coal-powered electricity.

Since 2006, StraightUp Solar has brought over 5 megawatts of solar energy capacity to more than 350 residential business customers, including universities and city governments.


Masson, Pauline. “Installing Solar Panels Should Save District Over $200,000.” emissourian May 16 2015.