Through participation in the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Made in Minnesota solar incentive program and an agreement with Aquilla Solar of Wabasha, Crucifixion Elementary School in La Crescent has become the first school in the area with a solar power system on its roof.
The 152 solar panels recently installed above the school’s gymnasium can produce 40 kilowatts of electricity, enough to provide around 80 percent of the school’s electricity.
The panels can be individually monitored and adjusted, and connect to an inverter behind the school. The inverter converts the power from the panels to an alternating current that transmits it to the electrical grid.
Crucifixion will receive a 10 percent discount on its electricity bill for the next 10 years as a result of the project. After six years, the school will have the ability to purchase the panels for 10 percent of the purchase price of $13,000 from Aquilla. After 10 years, Crucifixion can purchase the solar array for $1.
State incentives are fueling growth in solar power across Minnesota and in the summer, the state generates more power from the sun than any other. However, in the winter, snow has to melt away before the sun can reach the panels, which can reduce production.