Montville Township Public Schools in New Jersey is joining the net-zero revolution by installing solar modules on six schools in Morris County. Set to save almost $1 million in energy costs over the next 15 years, the SolarEdge DC-optimized systems are forecast to generate 1.84 megawatts of solar energy annually and will reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of 1,500 tons of coal burned, or 171 homes’ electricity use per year. 

SolarEdge was chosen by developer and installer, Solar Landscape, for its ability to maximize energy production by overcoming design challenges that are common when installing solar arrays on school buildings. The roofs on older buildings in particular often have multiple orientations or obstructions such as skylights that restrict module placement and reduce energy production. In a traditional, non-optimized solar solution, module placement is limited by the need for equal string lengths, as well as maintaining the same azimuth and tilt of each module. In the SolarEdge system, no such restrictions apply, allowing the layout of the modules to adapt optimally to the roof shape and design to generate more power. This enabled Solar Landscape to increase the amount of usable roof space on two of the school buildings by almost 50%.

The six installations are the latest in an estimated 600 solar systems to have been introduced at New Jersey’s schools as part of a program to decarbonize the state’s educational facilities. The project was funded by a 15-year solar power purchase agreement (PPA) supplied by Solar Landscape. This enabled Montville Township Public Schools to install the solar arrays with no upfront capital investment, and will allow them to purchase the electricity they generate at a significantly lower cost than they would pay for energy from the grid.

“All our installations demand the safest and highest-quality equipment, making SolarEdge a good fit for this project,” said Eric Boehm, vice president of operations for Solar Landscape. “In addition to maximizing energy production, the system’s module-level monitoring capabilities provide the necessary safety measures for rooftop installations as well as valuable data on system performance and health in real time, helping to significantly reduce maintenance costs over the lifetime of these installations. This is a top priority with every project we install, but it is especially crucial for schools. It gives the schools’ leadership, teachers and students an exciting way to see exactly how much energy the modules are generating.”

As part of this project and in order to amplify the importance of sustainability to students, a large-screen monitor will be installed in the Montville High School Rotunda, constantly displaying the amount of energy the SolarEdge system is generating in real-time. 

“Protecting our environment and fighting climate change is a priority for our schools, our students and our community,” said Montville Township Public Schools’ Business Administrator Katine Slunt. “By using solar energy, we’re now making good use of an untapped asset: our buildings’ roofs. Now, we can be even better stewards of our financial resources and lead our students by example in the fight against climate change.”