The next month has been eclipsed by the realities of performing significant work in a limited time, according to Belmont Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Kingston.
The earliest the panels are now to be installed on schools will be the summer of 2013, said Kingston who explained the year delay by referring to an assistant of his in the Chelsea schools where he was the long-serving superintendent.
"She would say 'It takes longer than it does' and it does for all public enterprises," said Kingston of the proposal that is expected to bring long-term savings to the school department's energy account.
Speaking to the Belmont School Committee at its mid-summer meeting on Tuesday, July 31, at the Chenery Middle School, Kingston said while the initiative approved by the School Committee in February is moving forward, there is not enough time during this summer recess for the committee to approve a vendor and the panel installment before doors open for the school year on Wednesday, Sept. 5.
Since significant work is required to place the solar arrays on the roofs, the schools would become construction sites that will likely lead to disruptions in student and staff days and require workers to undergo background checks and separate them from student contact during school hours.
Despite the delay, Kingston said a request for proposal – an invitation to vendors to enter the bidding process – for the installment work has been released and all proposals will be reviewed by a group headed by Belmont Energy Committee's co-chairman Roger Colton and Kingston on their viability to lower electrical expenses.
"We will see where we are in three or four weeks," said Kingston.