New School Spotlights Green Building with Solar Design

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Eye-catching solar structures by Spotlight Solar have been installed in front of a new LEED Platinum school, highlighting leadership in green building with solar design.

Green building - Sandy Grove Middle School in North Carolina installs 4 striking solar enegy systems by Spotlight Solar

Spotlight Solar's products are an intersection of solar machine and solar design. By making solar energy visible and attractive, we hope to increase its adoption.”

Spotlight Solar has announced the installation of its striking solar design structures at a new school pioneering the latest in green building techniques. The school will go beyond net-zero energy by making more energy than it uses. Sandy Grove Middle School will open this year as the nation’s first net-positive energy, LEED Platinum, leased public school. Four striking solar energy systems made by Spotlight Solar will highlight the environmental leadership of this school and inspire smart energy choices in the community.

Each of the bright blue Spotlight solar structures stands 20 feet tall, and incorporates 12 solar panels. They are the most visible part of the school’s 590 kilowatt photovoltaic solar system, contributing a meaningful 12kW, more than enough to power the three electric vehicle charging stations at the school. In combination with a geothermal system, advanced building techniques, and high-efficiency LED lighting, the school’s solar system will produce 20% more energy than the school requires. Surplus energy will be contributed to the Hoke County energy grid in partnership with Lumbee River EMC. The eye-catching Spotlight Solar structures complement this clean energy leadership and give it visible expression.

“We are thrilled to be part of such an impactful project,” said Craig Merrigan, co-founder of Spotlight Solar. “This school is a beacon of educational excellence and stewardship of resources. Spotlight Solar’s contribution is to make Hoke County’s leadership visible and inspiring. Our products apply ‘solar design’ – they are both clean energy machines and solar art. By making solar energy visible and attractive, we hope to increase its adoption.”

Sandy Grove Middle School is a result of a pioneering approach led by FirstFloor / SfL+a Architects, which created a complete package of design, development, renewable energy, and public-private financing. Metcon, a member of the US Green Building Council is the general contractor. Together, the partners in this project will provide the residents of Hoke County with a flagship school while saving $35 million over 40 years.

Robbie Ferris, CEO of SfL+a Architects and FirstFloor commented, “FirstFloor is a development company that provides creative project solutions for clients, from project concept to financing – to build net-positive energy schools that are both environmentally and financially sustainable. Sandy Grove is the first; and Spotlight Solar is helping us make a statement we hope will inspire many other communities.”

PowerSecure Solar provided installation and engineering services for the large rooftop solar system, a whole-building generator, and the Spotlight Solar design structures. Blair Kendall, Director of Business Development for PowerSecure said, "FirstFloor has led with a vision for the future of net-positive schools nationwide. We are privileged to collaborate with Metcon and other partners to provide renewable energy and peak-shaving capabilities to a complex and complete green building solution. The Spotlight Solar trees are an inspiring capstone on the tremendous achievement of this project – they place clean energy right among the students in a beautiful way."

Sandy Grove Middle School is under construction now and scheduled for completion by July 30. The pioneering green building will be ready to receive new students for the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

Spotlight Solar makes customers’ properties distinctive with great looking solar energy. These novel structures complement other environmental measures and authentically remind people of those investments. By making solar design more visible and attractive, Spotlight Solar hopes to accelerate the adoption of solar energy. And Spotlight is a certified B Corporation, which means they’re out to do something good. For more information:

SfL+a Architects is a firm designed to provide state-of-the-art architectural solutions to educational institutions. Founded in 1982, the company has emerged as one of the most highly regarded architectural firms in the Southeast, offering expert services in architectural planning, design, construction, land planning and interior design. The firm has offices located in Raleigh, Fayetteville and Charlotte, N.C. The sister company of SfL+a Architects is FirstFloor K-12 Solutions, LLC, a North Carolina development company pioneering public-private partnerships to develop educational facilities. The company is comprised of talented professionals, each possessing 15-20 years of experience in banking, finance, construction and property management. For more information, visit

PowerSecure delivers Energy Technologies and Services to electric utilities and their industrial, institutional, and commercial customers. Our products and services are focused in the areas of Interactive Distributed Generation, Energy Efficiency, and Utility Infrastructure. We are a pioneer in developing Interactive Distributed Generation® (IDG®) power systems with sophisticated smart grid capabilities, including the ability to 1) forecast electricity demand and electronically deploy the systems to deliver more efficient and environmentally friendly power at peak power times, 2) provide utilities with dedicated electric power generation capacity to utilize for demand response purposes, and 3) provide customers with the most dependable standby power in the industry. Our proprietary distributed generation system designs utilize a range of technologies to deliver power, including solar power. For more information:


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