by Laura Drepanos '19
One of the newest additions to the St. Mark’s Campus is the solar panel field. Situated on West Campus, this solar field is presented in a conspicuous manner. While many St. Marker’s have noticed this addition, very few know its exact purpose. I spoke with St. Mark’s new CFO, Mr.Robert Kuklewicz who explained some of the facts about the solar panels to me.
The system is a 641.7 kW DC and 480 kW AC set of panels operated by Tesla. While the solar panels do use solar energy to generate usable energy, that is not their primary purpose for St. Mark’s. Unfortunately, St. Mark’s uses far too much electricity to be generated by the solar field alone. The purpose of the solar panels is to lower the electricity cost for St. Mark’s. The savings is estimated to be fifteen to twenty percent of the annual electrical cost. However, this percent is dependent on the amount of sunlight for a given year. In addition to the cost savings, the solar panels are a great leap in sustainability efforts at St. Mark’s as they will generate energy in a manner that is far less harmful to the environment and more efficient than other methods.
An interesting fact about the solar panels is that they are not actually running yet. However, this is soon to change. In order for the solar panel system to be energized, the Southborough Fire Department needs to run a safety check to ensure that the department could turn off the system in the event of an emergency. Additionally, the engineers of the solar field need to give it a final survey for the Town of Southborough Conservation Commission. As these are the only tasks remaining, the solar panels should be running by the end of the month.