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Harrisburg and Eldorado schools celebrate solar project

  • West Side Principal and future Harrisburg Unit 3 Superintendent Eric Witges cuts a ribbon in front of the solar array at Harrisburg Middle School Tuesday afternoon. Witges was joined by current Superintendent Mike Gauch, at left, HMS administration, faculty and staff, and Harrisburg Unit 3 school board members.

    West Side Principal and future Harrisburg Unit 3 Superintendent Eric Witges cuts a ribbon in front of the solar array at Harrisburg Middle School Tuesday afternoon. Witges was joined by current Superintendent Mike Gauch, at left, HMS administration, faculty and staff, and Harrisburg Unit 3 school board members.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Eldorado school officials gather for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Eldorado Middle School's solar array.

    Eldorado school officials gather for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Eldorado Middle School's solar array.
    COURTESY OF PATRICIA CURTIS

 
By Travis DeNeal tdeneal@dailyregister.com
updated: 5/21/2021 12:00 PM

SALINE COUNTY -- Two Saline County school districts recently celebrated their solar field projects that are designed to reduce carbon emissions while saving the school districts money.

Eldorado had a short presentation at their solar array on Thursday May 13 at Eldorado Middle School and Harrisburg had a similar presentation Tuesday at its solar field next to Harrisburg Middle School.

Officials from both schools say there are multiple benefits to the project.

"I believe this event is a huge step for the district and Harrisburg," Harrisburg Unit 3 Superintendent Mike Gauch said, before introducing West Side Principal Eric Witges. Witges will take over as superintendent of Harrisburg schools after Gauch's retirement at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.

Witges said the solar array at HMS, plus panels at East Side and West Side schools, will provide 989 megawatt hours of electricity yearly.

"What that amounts to is about 66 percent of the total usage at East Side, 67 percent at West Side and roughly 20 percent here at the middle school through the use of the sun," Witges said.

Numbers are similar for Eldorado schools. According to Eldorado Superintendent Ryan Hobbs, that district's 1,190 solar panels will produce about 651 MWh of electricity each year. At the elementary school, solar will provide 44% of total usage, and at EMS 86 percent of power will come from the solar project. The Eldorado project will have the equivalent of reducing 461 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the environment, according to Siemens Industry, which is the same as the removal of 101 cars from the road or 55 homes' annual energy usage.

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