New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | April 11, 2021

Charles City Public Schools receive $500,000 grant from DMME

By Andre Jones | March 28, 2021 5:21 pm

Charles City County Public Schools received a $500,000 grant from the Solar Enhanced Energy Savings Performance Contract Program at the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME).

In a Mar. 26 press release, the project, which includes the 712.5 kilowatt ground mounted solar array, will improve energy equity while advancing the Commonwealth’s clean energy goals.

The awarding of the grant had been an expected one for more than a year. When Charles City County schools entered into discussions with ABM Solutions for repairs and upgrades to the complex, part of the conversations circulated around the $500,000 award. Representatives of ABM Solutions advised school board leaders in 2020 that if the school system applied for the grant, they would be the top priority and entity to receive the grant. That prediction came true Friday afternoon.

“This project is a win-win for our environment and the Charles City County school system,” said Governor Ralph Northam in a press release. “In addition to lowering energy costs, this solar array will bring environmental and energy improvements to a historically underserve community and help accelerate our transition to a carbon free future in Virginia.”

According to the release, the solar portion of the project will reduce the electricity bill by 59 percent at the high school and save the school system approximately $86,000 a year. Other energy improvements the school system have planned include HVAC upgrades, lighting, building automation, boilers, improvements to the wastewater treatment plant, and hot water upgrades. The school is expected to save $3.4 million over the next 15 years.

“We are excited about the upcoming projects that will improve our facilities and reduce our carbon footprint,” said Charles City Superintendent Dalphine Joppy in a released statement, emphasizing that the upgrades will make the learning environment better.

Charles City County Public Schools is currently in a contract with ABM Solutions to upgrade roughly $4.6 million in repairs at the school complex. Projects have already started with HVAC upgrades, lighting upgrades, and replacement of the high school track and gymnasium scoreboards expected to take place within the upcoming months.