Electrician Mike Donnelly of Benchmark Electric Company in Rockland was joined April 1 by workers from Solar Roof Systems, a division of Industrial Roofing Company of Lewiston, atop Camden Hills Regional High School as the team installed 48 new solar panels to the roof of the building’s south-facing science wing.

Industrial Roofing Company’s Bill Conroy said the roofers spent two days building an aluminum mounting system and began installing the panels April 1. He said the remaining panels were expected to be in place by the end of the day on April 2. When completed, the eight kilowatt system will be capable of producing 12,130 kilowatt hours of electricity per year for an expected annual savings of nearly $1,500, according to Industrial Roofing Company’s business development manager, Kurt Penney.

According to Keith Rose, director of operations and maintenance for the Five Town Community School District and Maine School Administrative District 28, the new system cost $60,000. Rose said the school applied for and received $50,000 in the form of a grant from Efficiency Maine and the Public Utilities Commission. The remaining $10,000 came from an energy efficiency reserve account that was part of the original construction budget for the school.

Donnelly said the photovoltaic panels are tied directly into the Central Maine Power grid and the flow of energy will be metered in both directions, allowing Camden Hills to receive credit for any possible excess electricity generated by the panels.

The savings from the new system should mean the school’s $10,000 contribution to the cost will be paid back within seven years, Rose said. He said a Web-based interface will allow students and other interested parties to track the system’s energy production.

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by e-mail at sauciello@villagesoup.com.