Starion Bank generously donated $2,000 to Bismarck Career Academy’s new solar array project. The 49-kilowatt system, which is comprised of 115 panels that provide enough power for seven full-size homes, is a milestone for North Dakota. This is the first time in the state’s history that a solar array has been attached to a school for educational purposes.
While the array will provide students with the ability to gain a first-hand understanding of solar energy production, it also yields some other benefits, including the potential to provide up to $6,000 of savings per year in electrical utility costs. The panels help to power the building, but are also connected to the utility distribution system. On weekends and times of low electricity use, unused energy generated will feed the power grid.
This solar array represents a great step in enriching students’ education in Career Academy classes by expanding instruction to focus more on renewable energy in addition to fossil fuels. Academy Director Dale Hoerauf said, “We just haven’t done a lot with solar. I think it’s the next frontier.”