Despite the cold and threat of rain once again, Antwerp Local School students, staff, and faculty attended the celebration on the blacktop of the elementary playground, beside the solar array.
Community members and special guests attended the ceremony as well. Special guests included:
Bob Latta, Congressman
David Wirt, Latta’s Deputy District Director
Rob Blake, President of Sun Management and son of EnTrust Owner Tom Blake
Matt Smith, EnTrust Managing Director
Pat Weidenhamer, EnTrust Business Developer
Jim Shaw, President and Lead Engineer of Solential Energy
Linda Haycock, District One State School Board Member
Michael Netherton of Professional Lighting Services
Harold Gottke, Antwerp Local Schools IT Director
Jerry Zielke, Paulding County Economic Development Director
Jim Roach, Northeastern Local Schools Superintendent
Antwerp Local School Board Members Jaime Landers, Anita Bok, Dennis Recker, and Sara Schuette
And Kristine Stuart, Antwerp Local School Treasurer
There were also several media representatives present at the ceremony.
After welcoming guests, Antwerp Local School District Superintendent Dr. Miller gave a brief history of the project and provided details about the solar array.
The array will provide 1.03 megawatts of energy needed to illuminate classrooms, cook cafeteria food, and energize computer networks and the 800+ computers utilized by Antwerp students every day. The 3,828 solar panels will also provide the energy to run the district’s HVAC system.
Overall, the solar array will produce energy at the rate of 1,359,000 KWH per year. Over the life of the solar array system, 34,068 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) will be eliminated from the district’s carbon footprint.
Dr. Miller extended thanks to Solential Energy, Inc. of Carmel, Indiana, for their engineering and oversight of construction of the project during the preceding seven months. He also thanked Antwerp Local School IT Director Harold Gottke, who spent many hours working on the intricate details of the project.
Last, Dr. Miller expressed gratitude toward Tom Blake, owner of enTrust, for his financial investment and ownership of the project. Dr. Miller praised Blake for his desire to help the school achieve significant financial savings.
The solar array project could save Antwerp Local School approximately $60,000 per year. With the installation of the new LED lights throughout the school building, the solar array could provide 98% of the district’s energy needs.
Following Dr. Miller, both Matt Smith, EnTrust Managing Director, and Linda Haycock, District One State School Board Member, addressed the audience.
Congressman Latta wrapped up the ceremony, emphasizing the need to use all types of energy.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, a selected student from each grade level assisted with the symbolic “Flipping of the Switch” within the solar array. Students and visitors were also invited to walk through the solar array.
Finally, the selected students and guests entered the school board room to sign solar panels for permanent display in the school building.
Of the event, Superintendent Dr. Martin Miller, said, “Today marks a very important day in the history of the Antwerp Local School District, a historic day for other school districts in Northwest Ohio, and in a larger sense, for the environment of this nation.”