Letter: Where are the solar panels at BMS?

Posted 10/17/20

To the editor:

The roof at the new Barrington Middle School was made solar ready and I am writing to encourage those in leadership positions to follow through and install solar panels on the …

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Letter: Where are the solar panels at BMS?

Posted

To the editor:

The roof at the new Barrington Middle School was made solar ready and I am writing to encourage those in leadership positions to follow through and install solar panels on the roof.

My family moved to Barrington in 2010 and I take pride in our town and schools. My kids benefited greatly from their years at the middle and high schools, and I am grateful for the sustained hard work and professionalism of the many people who contribute to the success of our schools. Although my children will not experience the new middle school, I fully supported its construction as I believe our town and future generations deserve such a first-class facility.

As such, I find it distressing to learn that the construction of the middle school has not included the installation of solar panels on its roof. It is my understanding that money was accepted from the state to make the roof solar ready – yet despite the fact that adequate funding is available in the construction budget, the school committee and administration have not installed the solar panels – and apparently seem uncommitted to do so.

This sadly appears to be a trend in town as it is my understanding that the roofs of two other Barrington schools were made solar ready – at taxpayers’ expense – yet there was no follow through to actually install the solar panels.

Although there is an upfront cost, over a period of time the solar panels will effectively pay for themselves. Along the way, as pointed out in Dr. Carter’s Aug. 19 letter, by installing solar energy data loggers in the school, the project will serve as an educational tool for our students. It also would help cement Barrington’s role as a leader in energy efficiency and resilience in the face of sea-level rise and climate change.

To my mind, not making use of this opportunity does Barrington and its students a disservice. The solar project would produce energy to offset the schools’ running costs, contribute to the town’s overall resilience efforts, and provide our students with educational opportunities related to engineering, science, and mitigation of climate change. I join with many others in town in urging the school and town leadership to make use of the budgeted funds associated with the construction of the Middle School to install solar panels on the school’s roof and to find ways to incorporate the production of solar energy from the project into the Middle School curriculum.

Richard Wilbur

Barrington

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