Teaneck Schools Solar Project Now Due For End of 2015 Completion

TEANECK, N.J. — Teaneck Schools will finally have working solar panels by the beginning of 2016, after nearly three years of construction, repairs and litigation.

Solar panel work at Teaneck's schools is now expected to be done by the end of this calendar year.
Solar panel work at Teaneck's schools is now expected to be done by the end of this calendar year. Photo Credit: Alexis Tarrazi

The solar journey began in 2013 when the Board of Education "made a decision to look at solar as a possibility for money saving, a financial resource and going green,” Schools Supt. Barbara Pinsak said.

In order to install panels on the buildings, the schools' roofs would need to be supported and redone. This became a costly venture, so the board decided to move forward with Hudson Solar to install solar canopies over parking lots instead.

The canopies were erected in 2013 but two fell at Bryant Elementary after a severe winter.

“Fortunately, no one was hurt and we turned off the solar,” Pinsak said.

The district then hired an attorney and Hudson Solar eventually filed for bankruptcy. Sun Edison then took over and will repair the panels.

The initial remediation work of the steel column anchorage is progressing at Bryant, Benjamin Franklin, Teaneck High School, and Eugene Field. The reconstruction of the new concrete piers at the collapsed arrays at Benjamin Franklin and Bryant has been completed.

Officials originally expected the work completed before the school year began. It's taken longer, they said, because  work needs to be scheduled at times when students aren't in school.

“While none of us are happy that the solar has not been fully remediated, we are pleased that the contractor is diligent and that anything that needs to be corrected is corrected,” Pinsak said.

“Hopefully at one point, we will have it done this year -- have the solar alive and working again and saving money for us," she said. "And also be used as an educational tool.”

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