Norman North now powered 100% by solar panels – Norman Transcript

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On Monday, Norman Public Schools unveiled its new 488-panel solar power plant, which sits on top of Norman North High School.

The new solar panels will offset 100% of the energy used by Norman North. Over the next 30 years — the life of the panels — they are expected to save $1 million, according to Justin Milner, the district’s associate superintendent and chief operating officer.

Tony Capucille, EightTwenty CEO, attended the event and said it all came together quickly after the Board of Education approved the installation in November.

“So this is real and it happened fast, and it’s one of 40 plus meters that the future can be powered by as well,” Capucille said.

He said he has wanted to put solar panels on top of schools for a while, but it was initially hard to convince a district to buy in. Since NPS decided to make the change, he said EightTwenty is receiving phone calls from other districts.

“We’ve had so many calls come in to Brightwell asking us how Norman did this,” Capucille said. “Your graciousness not only affects your constituents here, but a lot of other school districts are already starting to follow.”

Brightwell is the investment arm of EightTwenty.

Over the next seven years, the district will pay a service agreement of $8,000 per year to the solar company. Any savings from the solar panels will be pocketed by the district minus the initial agreement.

If the district chooses at any time to buy the solar panels, which would be like a reimbursement from those private investors, the $8,000 service agreement goes away.

Darrel Pyle, Norman city manager, said the district has received full support from the city for this project.

“In Oklahoma, what Norman Public Schools just accomplished, is not easy. If it was easy, it would have been done 10 years ago,” Pyle said. “The reason it’s challenging here in Oklahoma is we have the cheapest electricity in the United States, and that’s great for a lot of reasons, but it makes sustainability investments much more challenging.”

Pyle said he wants to continue investing in solar.

“The reason it’s worth the time and the mental hernia it takes to get here financially is in public institutions where we have very little control of the revenue side of our income statement. we’ve got to focus a lot of energy and attention on positively influencing the expenditure side of our income statement,” Pyle said.

Nick Migliorino, NPS superintendent, said it is fitting that the district make this announcement on Earth Day.

“This isn’t just about putting some panels on a roof. It’s about making a real difference for our planet, our students, and for generations to come,” Migliorino said. “We’re also setting an example for our community and beyond.”

Dirk O’Hara, president of the Board of Education, said installing solar panels also sets an example to the district’s students.

“How do we teach students to be lifelong learners? We show them that we are lifelong learners. How do we teach students to be kind? We exhibit kindness. How do we teach students to be great stewards of this one on the earth that we have? We become great stewards of this earth,” O’Hara said. “This is one other example of how we are trying to not just conserve energy, but use alternative energy.

“This is about teaching our students at the same time we’re making a huge difference in how we use solar energy.”

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