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Algonquin officials to vote on solar panels for Mackeben Elementary School

Mackeben Elementary School in Algonquin is on its way to implementing solar panels.

On Aug. 28, trustees said they supported a plan between Huntley School District 158 and ForeFront Power to install large-scale solar facilities on the Square Barn Campus, 800 Academic Drive.

The district requested an amendment to the 2003 planned unit development agreement that required all on-site utilities be underground.

The project, if approved, is expected to save the school district $4.2 million over the 20 years of the contract, and offset 12.3 million pounds of carbon emissions in the first year, according to a news release from ForeFront Power.

Trustees will vote on the matter during a Village Board meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Ganek Municipal Center, 2200 Harnish Drive.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Village President John Schmitt, adding that it’s up to the district to determine when the panels would go up. “The village has been a leader in environmental sustainability for 20 years and will continue to be. This is the smart way to do things.”

Schmitt further called the move “very positive” and said it is similar to the efforts at the village’s water treatment plant.

“Where we have the solar panels at our water treatment plant, 40 percent of [electricity] is going to be generated by solar panels,” he said.

Panels will be placed at the southwest corner of the property and north of the district’s administrative building.

“It is projected that a large portion of the energy needed to power the Square Barn Campus will be generated by these on-site facilities,” according to village documents.

“In addition to the landscaping ground cover, the petitioner will be planting within the installation areas.”

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