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Going green: Sanibel Sea School installs solar panels

By Staff | Sep 21, 2016

Bruce Neill, executive director, activates the Sanibel Sea School’s new solar panels. PHOTO PROVIDED

With help from Dell Jones and Rudy Wodrich of Solar Utility Partners in Estero, the Sanibel Sea School completed the installation of a rooftop photovoltaic solar array at their main building on Periwinkle Way. The solar panels were installed throughout the summer, they were activated on Aug. 27.

The project cost the school around $50,000 which was partially funded by the Bill Healy Foundation. The solar panels are expected to generate over 15,000 kWh per year, saving them roughly $1,800 annually.

Executive Director, Bruce Neill, wants to set the tone for others in the community and visitors who come to Sanibel that the environment is first and foremost. The Sanibel Sea School is the first commercial business to install solar panels on the island. Bailey’s General Store is not far behind though. They began their transition to solar Sept. 6.

“It serves as a reminder for everyone who peddles past or comes to Sanibel Sea School that this is a community that is concerned about the future of our natural resources, Neill said. We are a community under intense examination. We have tons of people coming here every year. We can either show them apathy or we can demonstrate to them that we’re a community that’s really concerned.”

Along with the solar panels, the Sanibel Sea School will be going through some major renovations in the coming years. The school is working on putting electric car charging stations in their parking lot.

Dell Jones and Rudy Wodrich of Solar Utility Partners of Estero, Conrad Wodrich, a long-time Sanibel Sea School with Bruce Neill. PHOTO PROVIDED

“There’s a growing network on where you can find them and we hope to be on that in the not so distant future,” he said.

The back building, which is still running on electricity, will get solar panels as well and a new roof to make it more energy efficient. There is also plans to adjoin it to the main building.

“We need to show people that there are alternatives. It’s our hope that others will follow suit,” Neill said.