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Westport School is Running on Sunshine

The addition of a 36-solar-panel system on the roof of Staples High School in Westport is the kind of thing that’ll make surrounding towns green with envy, engineer Steve Domyan said Wednesday during a dedication ceremony at the school.

"There's not going to be a day where you say, 'OK, we've got solar [power] now, shut down the other stuff.' That's not the way this technology works," said Domyan, a sales engineer for Ross Solar Group, which installed the solar panels. "But it really does make a significant difference. Not to mention the fact it makes Westport look like the leader of clean energy in Fairfield County."

The 7-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system installed at Staples was earned thanks to the town's participation in the Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program, a program sponsored by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund that enables towns and cities to earn clean energy systems by achieving specific milestones.

The town's Green Task Force and students in Staples' Club Green were credited with helping the town earn the new solar-panel system by getting people to sign up for the CTCleanEnergyOptions program, which supports the use of clean energy.

"Since Club Green started five years ago, the goal has been to get solar panels installed," said Staples senior Nicole Brill, co-president of Club Green. "I've been involved with the club since I was a freshman, so it's really nice to see our efforts paid off. And this is only the beginning."

Westport has been involved with the Clean Energy Communities Program since early 2005, making it one of the first communities in the state to commit to clean energy. In addition to this program, the town is one of 14 municipalities participating in the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge, a program launched in March aimed at making 1,000 Westport homes up to 20 percent more energy efficient by July 2013.

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