Hand, Polson Schools' Parking Lots Now House 100s Of Solar Panels

"Forward-thinking" Madison saves $500K over 20 years, reduces carbon footprint with Greenskies Clean Focus-installed solar carport arrays.

Patch | Ellyn Santiago
June 23, 2022

Saying that "reducing our environmental impact is top of mind," Madison's First Selectwoman Peggy Lyons, and the board, signed on in 2020 to embrace renewable energy through solar.

And the proof is two 129-kilowatt (kW) solar carport arrays, one each at Daniel Hand High School and Walter C. Polson Middle School.

Greenskies Clean Focus, the North Haven-based commercial solar developer, has installed 684 solar panels in the parking lots at the schools, 342 modules each at Polson and Hand.

Annually, the panels will generate more than 319,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean energy, the company says. Over the next 20 years, these projects will offset 4,450 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 5,360 acres of U.S. forests, Greenskies Clean Focus noted, citing the EPA's Greenhouse Gas Calculator.

"As a coastal community, reducing our environmental impact is top of mind. Madison is a forward-thinking town," Lyons said. "More renewable energy from solar decreases our carbon footprint while also mitigating rising energy costs.

The Madison Board of Selectmen issued an RFP in September 2020 and selected Greenskies to design, engineer, construct, finance, operate, and maintain two solar photovoltaic carport systems on school property through that process. As a result, the town and Greenskies entered into a Power Purchase Agreement that locks in reduced electricity rates, which will lead to an estimated $558,000 savings over the 20-year term.

"Incorporating solar energy is a cost-effective way to help towns like Madison make the most of their budgets," Greenskies' President and CEO Stanley Chin said. "A solar PPA is a reliable way to reduce energy expenses with predictable electricity rates. Plus, there are no up-front costs or long-term maintenance fees."