It has now been one year since the solar panels at the West School and Newcomerstown High School and the wind turbine at West School start producing power.

The 256 panels at West School have produced over 80,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and the 450 panels at the high school have generated over 140,000 kilowatt hours. Even with the amount per kilowatt hour that fluctuates each month (six months, the per kilowatt hour was higher in 2011 than 2010), the savings was approximately $22,836.

In looking at the electric bills, much of that savings occurred in the spring and summer months when the region naturally has the longest days and the most sun.

The 10 kilowatt wind turbine did well until March when the inverter (which transfers the power into current) went down. It had to be removed and sent back to the manufacturer in Oklahoma in April and did not return to be reinstalled until August. This did not cost the school system anything due to the 10-year warranty, but it did cost us the power that it would have produced during the five months. The turbine has produced as of Oct. 18, 2,000 kilowatts hours of electricity. The amount would be close to double that if the inverter had not gone down.

In addition, the alternative energy stations will be a learning laboratory for Zane State College which has an initiated college program for students to become certificated in this new field of alternative energy.

Students will be brought up to Newcomerstown from Zanesville to observe, learn, and study how the different forms of energy work together. In return, Zane State has invited Newcomerstown students to their college site to learn more about what programs are available. Other colleges and universities, starting new energy programs, will be invited also.

If anyone in the community would like a short tour of the wind turbine and the solar panels and the process, call Pat Cadle at 498-4151 (West School) or 498-8614 (home).