A COMPANY selected through a bidding process will pay for the solar panels and their installation at public schools, the Public School System told Variety Thursday.

Once the panels are installed, the company will bill PSS for the actual power produced by the panels, PSS added.

“We have no up-front cost. We don't buy the panels. We don't pay for installations,” PSS stated.

Following the signing of a net metering memorandum of agreement between PSS and the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation on Wednesday, Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada said solar panels are the “best” for the CNMI. “This is not only about education, but is also an environmental issue,” he added.

With the approval of the MOA, Ada said PSS will soon install solar panels at several public schools.

He said their goal is for all schools to have solar panels, but he added that he cannot promise that.  

Ada expects a lot of “back-and-forth” between PSS and and the public utility to ensure that the installation of solar panels will not disrupt public school schedules.

He noted that the cost of power produced by solar panels will be lower than that of CUC.

“PSS also feels that it’s also a win for CUC because CUC can reduce the amount of fossil fuel-based power it is producing on sunny days when PSS generates its own power,” he added.

PSS is looking at an annual savings of $1 million in power usage.

Under the MOA with CUC, any excess power produced by the public schools’ solar panels will go to CUC. PSS gets a credit on the number of kilowatt-hours it provides CUC.

In case of adverse weather, PSS can buy electricity from CUC.


Bryan Manabat studied criminal justice at Northern Marianas College. He covers the community, tourism, business, police and court beats.

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