Wilson Middle School recognized the installation of new solar kiosk on Tuesday. The switch to solar at Wilson, Kennedy, Ben-Hem and the new Natick High School is expected to cut back on the schools' energy use by 46 percent—the equivalent of taking 93 cars off the road, according to energy company Amaresco.
The project will also offer educational opportunities for Natick's students. An LCD screen in the Wilson lobby will display the panels' current performance and students will learn about different types of energy in their classes.
"We here in the town of Natick are very very proud of these projects. They represent a terrific public private partnership between the town and Amaresco...also a great collaboration between general government and the school department," said Town Administrator Martha White at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Wilson on Tuesday. "These projects also represent a significant saving in the town's costs."
Sen. Karen Spilka said the solar panel installations are a "terrific opportunity for the town," and said Natick is at the "forefront of solar initiative."
"We're adding Massachusetts jobs by doing these kinds of projects," said Spilka. "It's not only the town just saying it's going green...it is going green."
Rep. David Linksy, a Wilson graduate himself, called said the project is a "win for the students, win for the environment and it's a win for the taxpayers of Natick."
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources provided $74,000 to the town to help cover part of the cost of installing the solar panel system at Kennedy, a project that is also currently in progress. Working with Amaresco also allows the town to pay for energy at a lower rate than was previously paid.
The first two phases of the project are expected to create around 734.6 kW of energy.