Hamilton County school district now 100% solar-powered

Hamilton County school district now 100% solar-powered. (WISH Photo/Jessica Smith)

 HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — Sheridan Community Schools, a district of about 1,050 students, now operates completely on solar power. The district made the switch to solar after realizing the cost of electricity would likely continue to climb.

“Being a small district, every dime is huge to us,” said Superintendent Dave Mundy.

The district installed solar panels at the high school and elementary school.

Mundy told 24-Hour News 8 Sheridan is the first district in the state to be completely solar powered.

“It was very, very cool to see Sheridan be at the forefront of all these modern panels and technology,” said Mundy.

Mundy said he expects to save about $5 million over the next 20 years. In the first three months of the project, he said the district has saved about $30,000.

“That’s $30,000 we would have had to have taken for another line item to basically cover the cost of energy, because energy has to be paid. We haven’t had to find that money or move that money from other capital projects to get that done,” said Mundy.

The solar project has turned into a learning opportunity for students as well.

“To have them understand how important it is to save the environment has been very important to us,” said Mundy, “It hasn’t just been a project that we’ve done where the students haven’t been involved.  We’ve had them in every step of the way.”

Sheridan High School junior, Rachel Adams, told 24-Hour News 8 the panels have peaked her interest in clean energy.

“I did want to learn more about it once we got them. I was curious about them,” said Adams.

Students can look at screens around the school to see how much energy their panels are producing by the minute. They can also learn facts about solar energy.

Adams said the solar project has taught students that even a small district can make a big difference,

“It shows we’re capable. Even though we’re a small school and we’re a farming community — we’re capable of changing the environment. It’s revolutionary,” said Adams.

Mundy said parents and local business owners are showing interest in the panels as well. As they drop off their students at school and see the solar panels, it sparks conversations about them. Mundy hopes the panels will lead to a greener community as a whole.