Joplin Schools enters into an agreement with Liberty Utilities to use solar energy

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JOPLIN, Mo. — You could say the Joplin School District is getting more energized. The district has entered into an agreement with Liberty Utilities for solar energy. District officials say it will help them save money and energy at its 20 locations.

“We won’t really notice the difference in the power we receive or anything else. But what we should notice over time is reduction in our bills depending on the school and power usage,” said Dr. Kerry Sachetta, Assistant Superintendent for Joplin Schools.

The Joplin School District signed a ten year agreement with Liberty Utilities for its “Community Solar Pilot Program.” Liberty Utilities will build a solar farm with 11,414 solar panels for the district.

“We have multiple sites all over the district almost 20 different sites that get power from liberty utilities. Depending on the size the age of the heating and ventilation units in the site the efficiency of the site the demand the site requires. Different sites have potential savings. So over time those savings should add up very nicely for us,” said Dr. Sachetta.

The solar energy agreement could save the district anywhere from $30,000 to $119,000 a year. The savings will vary depending on year and when a rate increase occurs.

“We are excited about that. Any kind of savings to the school district would be advantageous anytime. And those are rough estimates based on conservative numbers that they could give us,” said Dr. Sachetta.

There’s no cost for the district to enter the program.

“One of the big pluses is when there are rate increases from liberty over time over the next ten years the portion of our power that comes from solar should remain constant. And the rest of the power regardless of the other sources are probably what we will pay rate increases for,” said Dr. Sachetta.

No word yet on where the solar farm will be built, but the district anticipates receiving solar energy by 2023.

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