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Herricks Unveils Displays New Elementary School Solar Panels

Panels made possible through a grant from Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel.

For years the Herricks School District has talked about installing solar panels on the roofs of its buildings.

Thursday night’s board of education meeting at the started with a demonstration about how the district’s had made those panels a reality for its three elementary schools complete with Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, who gave the $125,000 grant that made the installation of the panels possible.

Director of facilities Jim Brown noted that all of the solar panels have been installed and are currently up and running. He gave a presentation to the board and meeting attendees about why the solar panels are beneficial on Long Island, including that the area has a higher average number of sunlight hours than in Germany, where Brown said the panels are prolific.

Following the presentation, board president Christine Turner asked if there have been incidences of vandalism with solar panels, expressing concern given that the elementary school buildings are not tall buildings.

Brown said these panels were “made to last” and that someone would have to take a sledgehammer to them to do any kind of damage. He added that the panels aren’t visible to people walking around the building at ground level.

Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel thanked the district for accepting her grant and using the proceeds for the panels.

“Any time,” Turner replied.

Schimel called the panels a “good solid investment” and adding that she has some on her house. She added that she would like Herricks to be a model and for more schools in New York state to use solar panels.

“I want to make this a full-blown initiative acorss the state," she said. “You’re a leader in the state.”

Herricks Superintendent Dr. John Bierwirth said that his district’s process to obtain the solar panels took about 2 years because of several architectural revisions. He asked Schimel if districts in the future could go out for a joint bid on these panels and if there could be a few standardized designs for the panels at the state level. The district spent $14,000 of the $125,000 on architecture work.

For residents interested in following the solar panels, a page on the district’s website displays how they are working.

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