H-PT solar array project fully funded

HOUGHTON – A project to put a solar panel array on the roof of the Houghton High School is a go after more grant funding than originally requested has found its way to the school.

The group behind the panel project had sought a $25,000 grant from the Michigan Energy Office (MEO), part of the state’s Agency for Energy. They had already secured $4,000 from the River Valley Bank Community Grant toward the project, estimated at about $42,000. MEO stepped in to fill the rest of the cost.

“We’re really excited,” said Jim Vendlinski, part of the group behind the panel project. “We’re really happy that MEO had that extra funding available. We think it’s a positive thing.”

Now that funding is in place, the group will meet with the Copper Country Intermediate School District’s MiSTEM program about opportunities for working the panel into school curriculum, Vendlinski said.

Superintendent Doreen Kramer said the district is sill in the process of working with the contractor and placing orders. She hopes to have work started on the project in the next couple of weeks and have the array installed before school starts.

“We are going to move forward, and we’re looking forward to having the panels up and being able to use that information for the curriculum at school,” she said.

At a school board meeting in May, Drew Cramer of Solar Up said the district would save an estimated $115,700 over the next 25 years. He said the panel would generate about 1 to 2 percent of the electricity the building uses..

Kramer was thankful for the level of parent and community involvement in the project.

“They did a lot of legwork and looked into the grant,” she said. “Because of the parent and community interest, it’s able to get done.”