Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School
Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School, located in Franklin, Massachusetts, is committed to offering hands-on learning opportunities with equipment that closely emulates the most current industry technologies. Powering industrial equipment comes at a high cost, forcing vocational technical schools like Tri-County to devote funds better spent on classroom instruction to paying utilities.
In hopes of lowering its energy bills, Tri-County turned to its spirit of innovation to find a solution. Reducing energy costs allows the district to save money, helping to maintain the quality of the education it provides—a win-win for balancing the budget and preserving student-focused priorities.
Tri-County Regional has been purchasing its electricity and natural gas through PowerOptions since 2004. Recognizing this need to find energy savings, the school utilized PowerOptions Solar Program in 2014 to develop a 1.3-megawatt solar field constructed on land adjacent to the school.
“Green construction is an industry not to be ignored. Our students can now just look out the windows of our cafeteria to see how the industry’s evolved.”
Tri-County Regional’s solar field went into operation in November 2015 and is projected to generate more than $1 million in energy cost savings over the next 20 years. The school anticipates that 85 percent of its annual electricity usage will be offset by this system and so far, the savings have already exceeded expectations.
The project also provides more than 1,000 students with the opportunity to learn about the environmental and cost benefits of solar energy. Faculty and administrators noted the particularly positive impact this real-life application of clean energy will have on students studying construction-related professions, including Electrical Wiring Technology and Engineering Technology.
"This innovative program has placed clean energy within our reach, allowing us to not only decrease our environmental footprint but also to save energy dollars that we can now reallocate, as we continue to ensure an excellent comprehensive technical and academic education to our students," added Dockray.
"At PowerOptions, we aim to support the public entities and nonprofits that are serving our communities in part by making solar energy more accessible with offerings like our Solar Program. In addition to cost predictability and savings, Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School implemented their solar project without the need for any upfront costs or ongoing maintenance responsibilities."
Cynthia A. Arcate, President & CEO, PowerOptions