Monroe County Government Celebrates Solar Panel Installation

Monroe County celebrated the completion of its project to install solar panels on the Showers Building where the county's government offices are housed.

Ribbon cutting of solar panel

Photo: Kyle Clayton/Indiana Public Media News

Ashley Skooglund, grant administrator, cuts the ribbon on a solar panel that is the same model as those installed on the Showers Buildings. IU professor Elinor Ostrom (right) and County Commissioner Mark Stoops (left) also attended the ceremony.

The Monroe County Board of Commissioners celebrated the completion of the solar panels on the North Showers Building on Saturday afternoon.

More than 50 people attended the ceremony as Commissioner Mark Stoops announced the beginning of the Monroe County Energy Challenge, a contest between County Government and three county schools on who can conserve the most energy.

“A year from now we will find out basically who reduces energy consumption the most as a percentage of their total and so we’ll be working hard to beat those students,” Stoops said.

The contestants’ goal is to cut thirteen percent of the county’s total energy costs in one year which would amount to around $130,000 dollars. Energy consumption can be monitored at energy dashboards located at the schools, The Showers Building, the courthouse and the justice building.

Indiana University economics professor and Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom said the panels will set an example for other people and communities.

“Counties around all of Indiana, there’s a huge amount that we need to do,” Ostrum said. “We show we can do it. We can. Those two words “We Can”, they’re really important.”

The solar panel system is the largest installed on a locally or state owned government building in Indiana. Monroe County received a grant from Indiana Office of Energy Development last November.

The public can also view the energy dashboards data at the Monroe County website.

Kyle Clayton

Kyle Clayton is a WFIU news producer. He is currently studying journalism at Indiana University and comes to WFIU following an internship in the fall of 2011. After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned home to Indiana in 2008 to begin his education and pursue his interests in writing.

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