Solar arrays coming to some District 191 rooftops

Energy savings and potential learning opportunities await the installation of solar panels on the roofs of six District 191 buildings.

The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School Board approved June 23 a contract with Ideal Energies for the solar arrays. The Minneapolis company leverages rebates, tax credits and other savings for its solar installations.

The district will own the arrays, using part of its energy savings for the first 12 years to fund a lease-purchase agreement, Business Services Executive Director Lisa Rider said in a report to the board.

After that, the district gets all the savings. The arrangement is for at least 25 years, according to Rider.

The arrays can be used to help teach students about and raise their interest in alternative energies, she said.

Six schools are approved for solar arrays through a pair of incentive programs: the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Made in Minnesota lottery program and Xcel Energy’s Solar Rewards.

Buildings must have rooftops deemed structurally safe to hold the weight of the arrays. Qualifying schools are Burnsville High School, Marion W. Savage Elementary, River Ridge Education Center, Sioux Trail Elementary, Burnsville Alternative High School and Vista View Elementary.

The first four are expected to be approved for the Made in Minnesota program, according to Rider. All six qualify for Solar Rewards.