Groundbreaking for solar power to save Dublin High 40%, thus reducing teacher furloughs, financed by municipal bonds, made possible by cooperation among a wide range of government officials, private companies, and individuals: that was the groundbreaking story in Dublin, Laurens County, yesterday, videod by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE.
Dublin City Schools are willing to try something new, and that's why they were groundbreaking, said Chuck Ledbetter, Superintendent, yesterday. He recognized members present of the Dublin City Council, the Laurens County Commission, the Dublin-Laurens Development Authority, and state representative Matt Hatchett, and Public Service Commissioner Bubba McDonald. Ledbetter's theme,
was echoed over and over by many other speakers. What they worked for was economic help for Dublin City Schools through solar power, financed by municipal bonds.
The Mayor of Dublin, Phil Best added to the list
This is the first day of tomorrow. You don't know who this group is, what you represent is a lot of things that are going to take place in this state. Evidence shows that when you have a city council, a development authority, a county government, and a school system that come together make things happen, this is what happens.
McDonald also praised the GA PSC staff, and continued:
What's happening here today, truly we've broken the ice! Bringing solar to Georgia hasn't been an easy thing to do. I had the privilege before Christmas to be in Germany for a week, looking at the process of energy in Germany. ...people with the energy business in Germany, and they look at Georgia and they say "if we only had half of the opportunity that you have with that beautiful sun shining on your state." They're going to be on renewables by 2020. And we're just starting.
But you don't just realize how important this project is to the state of Georgia. You're going to have school systems; you're going to have county governments, you're going to have the state of Georgia; you're even going to have Georgia Power Company that's going to be looking and saying heay! you know we might need to take a quicker look a better look at what we have today....
And again: this is the first day of tomorrow.
Georgia Power and its parent the Southern Company were prominent by their absence from these festivities on this day.
Joe Thomas, CEO MAGE SOLAR USA, headquartered in Dublin, praised all the participants, and summarized the discussions that led to this day, saying Superintendent Chuck Ledbetter had said to him:
I know things are tight and we're really struggling in education, and he said we need to find ways to reduce our costs. And I said solar should do that for you if everything is put in place.
He mentioned other power sources and added,
Solar now has reached a point; the technology has been there for some time; costs have reached a point now where it really makes economic sense for us. And we have to be looking at that as Commissioner McDonald said, on a really broad field and on a small scale with the residential, school systems, businesses, and whatever.
The Superintendent praised Robert Green of Greenavations for working with him and MAGE SOLAR to come up with "the right size with the right financing model to make it a great money saver for Dublin Schools."
Robert E. Green of Greenavations praised "the greenest high school in Georgia."
This was not only a groundbreaking event for this school. It's also, because this project represents the first use of municipal bonds to finance a solar array in the state of Georgia, with this development, and the forethought of the people gathered here today, we can unequivocably state that Wall Street and Main Street have agreed that there is enough sunshine in Georgia for solar to succeed as a way to drive down educational costs.
This is a first: the cooperation!
Superintendent Ledbetter wrapped up the speeches by repeating the theme of the day:
This day would not be here if it weren't not for all these people working together.
He added to the list Cal Wray of the Dublin-Laurens Development Authority.
Together we can do things we never thought were possible.
Bubba McDonald stood up again to praise
One of the brains behind the solar initiative in Georgia is Shane Owl-Greason... He lives, eats, and sleeps solar energy.
When you have a solar array working today, you might say it's a cloudy day, you're not going to make any power. Not so! That means that on a day like today it will probably be close to 50% production. the temperature being what it is and the amount of power we're using in Dublin High School we can probably power Dublin High School today.
A long line of cooperating people went outside and broke ground with golden shovels.
Gretchen interviewed Cal Wray, President of the Dublin-Laurens Development Authority on how bringing MAGE SOLAR to Dublin in 2010 started the ball rolling to where now industry, government, schools, residential, all are involved in solar and ramping up. He's the one who went to Germany and found MAGE SOLAR. Maybe looking farther afield than Alabama or Tennessee is profitable.
Finally, here's the site plan for solar Dublin High.
Here's a video playlist:
Videos: Solar Dublin High School groundbreaking
Solar Groundbreaking, Dublin High School,
Pictures by Gretchen Quarterman and John S. Quarterman,
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Dublin, Laurens County, Georgia, 11 March 2013.