Empire District Electric Company conducted field tests on the solar panels, then installed a net meter which records power consumption and feeds back to the Empire grid. The system initially generated about 1.3 kilowatts, gradually increasing to 2.2 kilowatts.
The solar panels appear to be generating more power than the machinery in the building will consume. It will take a month to see where the bill winds up. The club hopes that the monthly bill can be reduced as much as possible by selling excess power back to Empire.
The direct current produced by the panels runs through a Kako inverter, which converts it into alternating current like on the existing power grid. Several key safety features are built into the inverter so that it will shut down during a power outage. All of these features had to pass a battery of tests before completing the connection. After an hour of consultation between all parties, the net meter was installed and the final testing was conducted.
Electrician Jay Biloki noted, "Davis and Son is glad to be a part of the Purdy High School Spanish Club's solar project. We support renewable energy and are happy that people are looking into it."
"It was an amazing exercise in careful collaboration," said Spanish Club advisor Gerry Wass. "We learned so much from working with Empire today, and it was fascinating to be part of the whole process."
"Empire workers Nate Morris, Tom Kirsch, Mike Haynes and Wade Palone really impressed us with their professionalism and intense curiosity," said Wass.
The building, which also powers the school sign and the baseball scoreboard, currently uses between $38 and $111 of electricity per month. Power consumption is dependent on the season, so there is new reason to focus on shutting off every switch when workers leave the building. The Spanish Club is proud to have completed the first known school-affiliated, commercial-scale renewable energy project in southwest Missouri, helping Purdy distinguish itself in the areas of environmental consciousness and innovation.