WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County Public Schools are moving forward with installing a solar energy system at the building that houses Triplett Tech/ Massanutten Governor's schools in Mount Jackson.

School Board members and administrators at Thursday night's meeting agreed to enter into a 30-year contract with Sun Tribe Solar, an alternative energy company based in Charlottesville.

Sun Tribe Solar would install and maintain a solar array on the Triplett Tech campus at no cost to the division, Tony Stephan, education market manager for the company, has previously said. The company then would bill the division for the building’s use of solar energy at 8.6 cents per kilowatt-hour. The division now pays Dominion Energy roughly 13 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The move to solar is expected to save the division an estimated $475,816 in energy costs by the end of the 30 years.

The array is expected to include 700 solar panels, called modules, and a system that will create power for the building. The system would be installed on the ground close to the back of the school building.

Sun Tribe Solar installed a solar array last year on a Middlesex County Public Schools building.  School Board members Cynthia Walsh and Michelle Manning were recently at a conference where Middlesex schools administrators spoke about the installation.

“The superintendent spoke so highly of this,” Walsh said.

Also Thursday, board members approved a policy change that opens up seats in under-enrolled Triplett Tech classes. It goes into effect this school year.

Full-time public school students would have the first choice at courses but if the course does not fill up, then any remaining seats would be opened to home-schooled or private school students. Courses have a maximum enrollment of 20 students because of federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations.

Walsh said she and Manning championed this change.

“We really tried to get it done for the people. I think its a good idea,” Walsh said.

Contact Melissa Topey at mtopey@nvdaily.com