Environmental sustainability and conservation are central to the Millbrook School’s core values. In fact, the school has a history of energy-efficient building design and environmental stewardship projects.
Millbrook’s faculty also recognizes that education opportunities stretch beyond the classroom. As of April 2015, the school’s seven-acre SolarCity photovoltaic (PV) energy system was online and already being woven into curriculum across science courses, independent studies and Culminating Experience for Seniors projects.
The 1.7-megawatt system, which SolarCity will own, operate and maintain over the course of a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), includes 5,852 ground-mounted panels on what had previously been under-utilized school land.
Millbrook is purchasing energy generated by the system, which in the first year is expected to be about 2.1 million kWh. The school uses just under 2 million kWh to power the entire campus. With the PPA, Millbrook expects to save between $22,000 and $30,000 in the first year of operation alone, and plans to allocate that savings to a revolving fund that will help pay for other energy efficiency projects to reduce the school’s carbon footprint.
The Millbrook School project adds to SolarCity’s already deep experience developing solar projects with New York schools and municipalities. SolarCity has a proven track record of supplying energy at predictable rates that are less than what local utility companies currently offer.