News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 18, 2013
Solar panels on Brooklin school discussed, bids awarded

by Jessica Brophy

At its Tuesday, July 9 meeting, the Brooklin School Board heard a presentation by town selectmen Mike Roy, Deborah Brewster and Albie Smith.

Roy said the selectmen had been approached by Revision Energy for a possible install of solar panels on the school and the fire house. Revision Energy does projects like these to secure energy credits from the government, explained Roy.

Revision Energy would pay the $270,000 installation cost, and Brooklin would receive a 1 cent per kilowatt hour reduction in electric costs, which should save over $13,500 per year. Brooklin would be responsible for maintenance, which averages about $1,500 per year. The system would feed into the grid and does not require batteries.

After seven years, Brooklin would have the option of purchasing the system for an estimated $120,000. Once purchased, Brooklin would reap the full benefit of the solar panels. The life of the system is expected to be 30 to 40 years.

Roy said that much of the school’s roof will need to be re-shingled before the solar panels can be installed. Such a project could cost many thousands of dollars, but is a repair that is needed for the school’s longevity.

School board members expressed interest, and said they would like to meet with representatives from Revision Energy. The selectmen agreed, and said a town-wide informational meeting would need to be held prior to town meeting.

Superintendent Mark Jenkins said the town might want to consider creating a “solar district” like a municipal water district, to handle the money and repairs, since the project involves the fire house and the school and keeping track of which budget is billed for repairs might be tricky.

Brewster said the selectmen are continuing the conversation about creating a “younger Brooklin” with more families with school-age children. Brewster said the board had talked with a consultant about ways to market the town as a good place for young families. The proposal of the consultant was pricier than the town was interested in at the moment, said Brewster, but much of the work is similar to what a comprehensive planning committee would do to update the comprehensive plan. The next goal is to make bringing young families to Brooklin a focus of the comprehensive plan, whether that includes discussions of affordable housing or improving business opportunities.

In other business, the board awarded the following bids unanimously to the lowest bidder: heating oil, Wardwell Oil, 8,000 gallons pre-buy at $3.05; bus fuel, split bid, the Blue Hill run was awarded to RL Greenlaw & Son for $3.9165 and the Deer Isle run was awarded to Eaton Oil for $3.3274; trash disposal, Blue Hill Disposal, $30 per trip.

School lunch prices will be $2.60 for regular lunch for the 2013-14 school year. Principal Halina Nawrot’s contract was also unanimously approved.

Brooklin school board

Next meeting: Tuesday, August 13, 6 p.m.

Brooklin School