District Solar Panel Project Near Completion


Since the beginning of the school yearstudents and teachers alike have been asking the same question:

“What’s the deal with those solar panels?”

They’ve started to appear in the summer of 2021and are impossible to miss when entering the school.

Planning for the panels actually began in 2018, and the district issued requests for proposals the following year. In May of 2019, the proposal was awarded contract from National Energy Partners, LLC.

So why does Hammonton High School have solar panels?

District Business Administrator Barbara Prettyman explains that the district was interested in cost saving. Since the solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, there’s less spending in the long run.

Prettyman has also stated that no tax payer dollars were used for this project and instead was a “power-purchase agreement” (PPA).  A PPA is a financial agreement between the district and the vendor. In this agreement, the school benefits with a significantly reduced rate of electricity costs while the vendor owns the solar panels and receives both income as well as tax credit.

Some thing that has bothered students and some staff members is the location for the solar panels. They are directly in front of the main entrance of the school and far away towards the elementary school.

The reason they are located in the free large space in the front is because the district determined it would be best to have open fields for possible future athletic sports. Most drivers coming into the school have also noticed the large trenches, most notably the ones on the road. These trenches are being used as a power conduit so energy from the panels can be transferred into the building.

This large scale project has taken years of work because of the amount of planning that has gone into it. The Hammonton school district is located in an area of New Jersey called the “Pine Barrens” so the school needed approval from Pinelands Commission to place these large panels.

There was also a lot of waiting for Atlantic City Electric to provide a feasibility study before construction started.

As of now there are no plans for more solar panels in the future and the project is expected to be finished by the end of the school year.