NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 3, 2009

School goes solar

State's largest municipal array up and running

NEWBURYPORT — The Rupert A. Nock Middle School solar project may not have gotten off to the smoothest of starts, but its grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony coming up on Oct. 14 is expected to cast plenty of positive light on the recently activated solar installation. It's the largest municipal solar photovoltaic system currently operating in the state, according to solar contractor firm Ameresco of Framingham, and to celebrate its activation, the city has invited some of the state's highest-profile environmentalists to help it pay homage to this "super green" initiative.

Expected to attend are Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles, who will serve as keynote speaker for the affair, followed by speakers Phil Giudice, Commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources, and Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Director Carter Wall.

Attendees will also hear from Mayor John Moak, who will act as master of ceremonies for the event, and consultant Jeff Wootan, who negotiated the deal on the city's behalf while still a member of the city's Energy Advisory Committee.

"Ameresco, the City, and the schools worked closely to put the construction schedule on the fast track so that the Nock School installation would be completed during the school's summer vacation months," reads the invitation to the event. "Since September 1, 2009, the system has produced almost 20 percent more electricity than originally calculated for the available sunlight."

According to Nock Principal Barry Hopping, the ribbon-cutting ceremony marks the beginning of what he's sure will become a special, unique learning opportunity for local students.

In fact, with the recent arrival and installation of the much-anticipated lobby kiosk and wall-mounted monitor, students, teachers and staff have been tracking the real-time data streaming down from the rooftop panels, and what they're seeing is creating buzz and excitement for solar energy throughout the school, he said.

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