Northland Pines School District Completes Third Solar Energy Project

Excess Energy Produced Will Be Stored

Eagle River, WI – Northland Pines School District in Eagle River, Wisconsin completed its third solar energy project in five years. The district received $23,355 in financial incentives from FOCUS ON ENERGY® for installing a photovoltaic (PV) solar array and a grant for $95,000 from the Office of Energy Innovation for a battery energy storage system (BESS). The district will be able to store excess energy produced by the solar panels by utilizing the BESS to keep peak demand charges low. The installation of both systems will benefit over 125 students and staff at St. Germain Elementary School.

Northland Pines

District Saves $10,000/Year

“Focus on Energy was a great help with this project,” remarked Building and Grounds Director David Bohnen. “Our Energy Advisor assisted us early in the process by advising on the proposal and how to pick a contractor and helping us access information on incentives related to renewable energy projects. Our District appreciates our Energy Advisor’s guidance to get this project started.”

The district embarked on this latest solar project in January 2022. In addition to support from its Energy Advisor, the District worked with the utility, Wisconsin Public Service, on the interconnection process. Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, Carlson Electric LLC, and Madison Solar Consulting assisted in the planning and installation of the PV solar array and BESS.

Although the District installed solar panels at both the Middle/High School and Land O’Lakes Elementary School in 2017, this project will mark the first time Northland Pines directly owns and operates a renewable energy system. With over 90,000 kilowatt hours of savings in the first year, the district is estimated to save upwards of $10,000 annually on its utility bills. This is the equivalent of saving the greenhouse gas emissions from 14 gasoline-powered vehicles driven for a year.

The district has always been sustainably focused. In over eight years, it has completed many energy efficiency projects throughout all its school buildings, including:

  • Upgrading to LED lighting.
  • Executing building envelope.
  • Performing boiler tune-ups.
  • Implementing retrocommissioning.
  • Installing variable frequency drives.
  • Monitoring HVAC equipment.

Building and Grounds staff at Northland Pines have also undergone the Building Operator Certification, a nationally recognized training program focused on energy-efficient building operations and preventative maintenance procedures. It also received the statewide Energy Efficiency Excellence Award in 2021. This award is given out to Wisconsin businesses for showing an extraordinary commitment to pursuing energy efficiency. Any energy savings the district earns is put back into the budget to help save money for taxpayers while improving student learning.

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