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PR-B receives report on solar heating

After an assessment from the Pine River-based Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL), the Pine River-Backus School has received a report detailing the cost and benefits of solar heat for the school’s bus garage.

According to the report, a solar air heating system for the garage could potentially provide 30 percent of the garage’s heating requirements. The report says the system could provide heat for three or four decades.

The cost of the system would be $27,492. The panels are estimated to pay for themselves in approximately 31 years. The report and its findings will be presented to the school’s facility team Oct. 3.

No decisions have been made regarding the system.

“Considering the cost, lengthy paypack period and the fact that it would cover a minimal percentage of heating needs at the bus garage, I personally don’t see it as being a viable option,” said PR-B School District business manager Jolene Bengtson. “I think the public would probably be split on it.

“We have a large number that would see the price and payback and choose not to support it. Then we have a large number that are very environmentally conscious and support it regardless of cost. I think solar heat, or any alternative heating option, is good to consider but must be looked at realistically with available funding and maintenance,” Bengtson said.

RREAL did similar assessments for Eagle View Elementary School in Breezy Point and other schools.

Travis Grimler can be reached at Follow him on Facebook.