Though a solar power vendor is ready to move forward with a proposed solar leasing project with the school system, members of the Cumberland County Board of Education said they wanted to hear from a local vendor before making a final decision.
The board also had not seen the final agreement proposed, and the issue was not included on the agenda for the June meeting, so no action was taken.
John Kemp, with Earth-Right Energy, said, "We need a binding agreement to go to the investors and get the project funded."
The cost of the project is estimated at $2.2 million to install solar systems at 15 sites on school-owned property, either on the rooftops of buildings or on the ground. The grid-tied solar systems would be owned by investment groups. As grid-tied systems, the energy produced would be fed into the electric system and the schools would receive credits from Volunteer Energy Cooperative through the Tennessee Valley Authority's Generation Partners program. Those credits would be used to pay the investment groups for its funding and the school system would receive an estimated $900 per site per year for leasing the space to the company.
The lease agreement would be for 20 years, after which Kemp said the school system would be able to buy the system for fair market value if it chose.
"It will be 21-year-old technology," he said. "The investors probably won't bark too loudly about that, and the systems will still produce electricity."
Several sites will need upgraded transformers, provided by Energy-Right.
Sandra Brewer, 3rd District representative, said there was a local vendor who approached her regarding a solar project after learning of the Energy-Right proposal in March.
"If we have this type of provider locally, shouldn't we give them an opportunity to do their proposal?" Brewer said. "
That local business is scheduled to meet with the board next month.
Kemp cautioned that starting the process over with a new vendor could delay a project because of the required engineering.
"This late in the game, the project probably won't be done this year," he said.
Charles Tollett, 1st District representative, questioned why the board was just hearing from the local representative.
"I'd hate to see us go back to square one," he said.
The board will consider the proposals at its July meeting.
In other business, the board approved:
•Beth Adams to serve as a volunteer on the Family and Consumer Science trip to Orlando, FL.
•Additional volunteers at Pleasant Hill Elementary, including Jerri Abbot, Mark L. Bernabei, Shirley Bernabei, Jim Blalock, Curt Buckner, Monte Carolan, Anna Cox, Melissa Ann Davis, John Dawson, Christine Edwards, Wayne Edwards, Merna Freitas, Sandy Graham, Shannon K. Graham, Dorothy P. Hayes, Robert Helton, Stan Huff, Dale Jacobs, Jamie Lee, Donny Loveday, Jerry Nash, Deborah Olson, Stephen Olson, Robert H. Rezash, Goldie Schneider, Tracy Schwencke, Rhonda K. Selby, Vicki Sexton, Scot Hatler Shanks, Kathleen Adele Sherrill, David Stewart, Florence E. Betty Streich, Tonya Swallows, Connie Taylor, Timothy A. Threet, Mike Turner, Tabitha Whittenberger and Misty Williams.
•Volunteers for the 2012-'13 school year at South Cumberland Elementary, including Andrew Keith Brown, Chelsey Nicole Brown, René Michele Everitt Brown, Travis Lee Isaacson, Carl Douglas Loveday, Charles M. Scarbrough, Jeremy Jay Wood and Jason Eric Wyatt.
•Permission for Cumberland County High School's boys basketball team to participate in basketball camp at Fannin County High School in Georgia June 11-12.
•Permission for CCHS basketball team to attend a junior varsity and varsity tournament in Warren County June 1-2.
•Permission for Martin Elementary Beta Club to visit Niagara Falls May 7-11, 2013.
•Permission for South Cumberland Elementary cheerleaders to attend summer camp July 20-21 at the KOA Campground in Crossville.