H-PT solar panels up

(Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette) Drew Cramer, owner of Solar Up, shows the Houghton-Portage Township School District’s new solar array to district administrators, including President Buck Foltz, Superintendent Doreen Kramer and Vice President Nels Christopherson.

HOUGHTON – The new solar panels outside Houghton High School are up and running, and the public can find out how effective they are.

Drew Cramer, owner of Solar Up, a Hancock-based solar installation company, showed the interface to Houghton-Portage Township District School Board members Monday night, as well as the 56-panel array.

A link to the public data is available at hpts.us/district-news.php.

Cramer is part of a group of parents and community members behind the project. They received grants for the project from the Michigan Energy Office and the River Valley Bank Community Foundation.

As of Friday afternoon, the panels had produced 550.8 kilowatt-hours of energy since Sept. 12. They should still be operating at 85% capacity after 25 years, Cramer said.

“A year from now, every month will have a graph,” Cramer said. “Two years from now, we’ll have two years of data represented there, so you can get a snapshot of how one year compares to another.”

The page also shows the total in carbon dioxide emissions saved, using average electricity generation in the U.S. it also has the equivalent number of trees planted — 64, as of Friday afternoon.

Administrators will have access to more detailed information, including what specific panels are doing.

“Then you can really see the effects of partial shading,” Cramer said.

There is also room on the roof to add another three to five panels, Cramer said.

Copper Country Intermediate School District’s MiSTEM program is developing projects that will incorporate the data from the panels.

The panels are projected to generate between 1 and 2% of the building’s electricity needs, the group said in May. That is estimated to save the district more than $115,000 in electric costs over the next 25 years.


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