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School district saves with solar in Snyder County

As many utility companies prepare to raise rates for electricity next month, at least one school district in our area is still saving.

MIDDLEBURG, Pa. — The switch to solar has picked up speed over the past few years, with many businesses, homeowners, and schools installing solar arrays to power the buildings.

The Midd-West School District has more than 6,000 solar panels, producing about 95 percent of the district's electricity throughout the year.

"They put the one on the Middleburg campus, which is the one behind us now, and there's another one on our elementary campus about 12 miles away from here," Midd-West Superintendent Joe Stroup said.

The solar array in Middleburg was finished in the fall of 2020.

"Because the company put this in for free, we are locked in at a rate per kilowatt-hour that is significantly less than what everybody else is charging. We also have the opportunity to buy this out in five years, which the district has a plan for," Stroup said.

Stroup says with the cost of electricity rising, taxpayers are seeing bigger savings than originally expected.

"With the cost of electric going up, they say that the cost savings, which was originally proposed at $80,000 a year, is going to be double that. Even as the 40 years lifetime of this, you can see how it would grow and grow and grow," Stroup said.

Officials at the Midd-West School District are even talking about expanding the solar project in the future. The expansion would provide the district with more than 100 percent of its energy needs.

"One thing we're blessed with here is a lot of land around our school, so we're trying to find ways to leverage that to save money for our taxpayers," Stroup said.

Another bonus is that Midd-West students can learn about solar energy from the array.

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