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Obsidian solar array delayed

Monday, Sept. 23, the Lake County School District #7 Board met to discuss a solar panel array project proposed by Todd Gregory, which was looked over after the last Board meeting by Darryl Anderson.  Gregory and Anderson decided to slow the progress of the project, looking for a decision on whether to proceed by the end of November

Anderson was appointed by the Board to review the proposal and weigh in on whether or not the Board should approve the initial process of creating the solar array.  Anderson and Gregory agreed that the more they talked, the more complex the project looked.

Anderson noted there’s a lot of logistics to look at about how the array will fit and possibly moving the greenhouse to allow more of the field to be left after the array is constructed.

Sean Gallagher commented that the next board meeting would need to be moved because of an Oct. 14, Town Planning Meeting that would be looking over a solar array located west of Lakeview.  The group agreed that the first decision that needed to be made would be whether to postpone the decision on school’s solar array, however.

Anderson was the one, according to Gregory, that made the suggestion of moving the greenhouse to preserve space in the field near the District office.  The two also looked at landscaping, hiring Christy Tveit who is an experienced landscaping designer as well as coordinator with the Innovation and Learning Center.

They contacted the Department of Energy as well about a grant that was given to Gregory for another project, which he wished to apply to help build the school solar panels.  Delaying the project would prevent them from using that particular grant, but the Department let them know there was a good chance of getting the grant back.  Gregory said he should know whether or not they would have the money again before the decision at the beginning of December.

In the end delaying the project would allow for a longer, more in-depth process of garnering public feedback and informing the community about the details.  It would also, however, decrease some depreciation tax benefits available to the project’s creator, as well as increase the price of the purchase option available to the District after five years of operation.

The meeting concluded after a decision was made to postpone further work on the project until Sunday, Dec. 1, and the next scheduled Board meeting on Oct. 14 was moved to Monday, Oct. 21.  Construction would likely happen in July of next year if the project were approved.

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