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DOE investing in solar panels

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - The island's children are our future and the Department of Education is not only molding them but also taking the necessary steps to ensure they will have a better environment tomorrow.

The rising costs of power has the community exploring their options when it comes to the generation of power even government agencies are looking towards renewable sources of energy that will save money and trees. Joining the effort is DOE. The department is thinking green with the hopes of installing solar panels at several of our island's schools. DOE superintendent Jon Fernandez said, "We basically are in the final stages of reviewing an agreement with GEF which is the landlord of our lease schools our four of our lease schools including Okoddo, Astumbo Middle School, Liguan and Adacao to install solar panels as soon as this coming school year hopefully before the end of the calendar year."

A review and approval of a power purchasing agreement will allow DOE to purchase power that is up to 80 percent of the schools capacity. "At a discounted rate from our GPA rates and of course the remaining 20 percent we will remain on the grid to be able to use GPA power," he said.

Fernandez says they are looking at the mechanics of the agreement and trying to leverage federal tax credit to make it possible. "Basically they will install and maintain the solar panels at no cost to the department what we will be doing instead paying on an annual basis through the power purchasing agreement," he said.

Fernandez says the department does have a broader solar panel effort in the works with the General Services Agency, noting, "We are working with GPA to come up with some final answers to the IFB they are putting out and once that gets going we be able to address the installation of solar panels in the rest of our school system."

So while the first to harness the power of the sun will be the lease schools Fernandez says once the details are worked out with GSA the rest of the department will go green. 
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