Monday, 07 November 2016 08:00

Solar system is a possibility for Eagle Butte High School

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As the Alberta government moves towards creating more opportunities for the use of renewable energies to reduce the carbon footprint, a new initiative could have benefits for a southeastern Alberta school division.

At the end of October, the provincial government announced school projects that are in the planning or design phases and have yet to go to tender, would be eligible for funding to have solar panels installed on their roofs. Included in that announcement was the possibility for the modernization of Eagle Butte High School (EBHS) in Dunmore to be considered.
The Province will fund up to $9 million toward the costs of doing so on school facility projects that are eligible.
“The announcement regarding the Eagle Butte High School modernization qualifying for the province’s solar panel pilot project is unexpected,” says Angela Baron, communications co-ordinator with Prairie Rose School Division (PRSD). “We look forward to having a conversation with our Alberta Education liaison to learn more about the project.”
The government will also provide funding for an educational component to solar projects. According to the news release, placing solar panels on schools was recommended by students as a way to demonstrate leadership on tackling climate change.
“The educational component of the project is exciting. Prairie Rose is always looking at ways to bring new learning opportunities to our students. This project would allow for real life learning and management of a renewable resource,” points out Baron.
The initiative is voluntary and Alberta Education officials will contact school division authorities to discuss modifying the scope of each school project to incorporate the panels.
Costs of each project would vary, but it is estimated would fall between, $250,000 to $750,000 per school for a solar panel array. That is dependent upon the size of the school, size of array and local site conditions.
“While in many ways it makes sense to generate solar power in an area known for hours of sunlight, a full review of how that would impact the Eagle Butte project would be required,” adds Baron. “This means consultation with the school administrator, board and project architect.”
EBHS modernization was discussed at the October regular board meeting. Board trustees agreed to change the completion date for the modernization to Sept. 1, 2018.
PRSD officials are still working through the schematic design process for the work. In October the project was out for costing. It was then going to be sent to Alberta Infrastructure officials for review. Once approved, it can then move into the design phase where more details will be confirmed.
The project is a complicated one due to the phasing of it that has to take place so students can use the building at the same time as construction is taking place.

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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