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The SAE School, a K-8 private school in Mableton, is aiming to become the first 100%-solar-powered school in Georgia by the end of 2019.

A Mableton private school is working to become the first completely solar-powered school in Georgia, and expects to reach that goal by the end of the year, according to its chief finance officer.

“The topic of sustainability is a global round-table discussion. Citizens of the world are making serious efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle by-products of everyday living,” said Scott Starowicz, CFO of The SAE School. Starowicz added that his school is joining those ranks.

The SAE (Science, Arts, Entrepreneurship) School is a private, K-8 school offering project-based learning and customized learning plans, Starowicz said. Last year, the school installed a 30-kilowatt rooftop array of solar panels as well as a schoolwide LED light conversion in its single building and has since seen a 30% decrease in utility costs, from about $3,000 per month to about $2,400, according to a news release from the school.

Students can monitor the school’s sustainability efforts in real-time via a digital monitor in the school’s lobby, the release states.

“The data provided on the monitor reinforces the connection between science and fiscal stewardship: making smaller carbon footprints produces environmental and economic savings,” Starowicz said.

The next step is installing 70-kilowatt panels to complete the second half of the school’s conversion to 100% solar, he said.

That installation, he said, will be half funded with a $60,000 Kendeda Fund grant through the Southface Institute, an Atlanta-based sustainability nonprofit. The school is asking for donations for the other half, Starowicz said.

The total cost of the project, including the 30-kilowatt installation that has been in place since last year, amounts to $180,000, he said.

For more information, to donate or to schedule a tour of the school, contact Scott Starowicz at scott.starowicz@saeschool.org.

Follow Thomas Hartwell on Twitter at twitter.com/MDJThomas.

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