Rio Rancho, Cleveland high schools now solar powered

Posted at: 10/16/2013 6:52 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Although the clouds lingered overhead, there was enough sunshine to power four thousand solar panels, which covers 7-8 acres of Rio Rancho High School. A similar array is across town at Cleveland.

It's a project that began in June and was finally completed this month.

The entire solar array will produce up to 80% of the schools electricity.

Al Sena, the Executive Director of Facilities for Rio Rancho Public Schools, thinks that the information that comes as a result of being able to monitor the systems at the school sites via the internet is going to be something that the teachers will be able to take advantage of as well as the students.

Elena Kayak wants to drive that message home to her students by teaching them about the fifth fuel.

"We've got four major fuels in the United States. The fifth fuel is using what you have in a better way," Kayak said.

Michael Fahey, the Commercial Program Manager for Washington Gas Energy Systems, collaborated with AM Solar and Conergy to fund and develop the arrays.

He acknowledges the importance of the Sun in New Mexico, which is "a great resource in this area, and the people here are great to work with and we love being in the area."

This did not cost the district a dime. Return investment will begin immediately.

"The anticipated expenditure savings should be roughly about $200,000 a year," Sena said.