Michigan City Area Schools will Wednesday dedicate what it says is the largest renewable energy project for an Indiana school district. The project, which includes solar arrays and LED lighting upgrades at seven school properties, is expected to save the district $23 million over 30 years.

Performance Services Inc. in Indianapolis, which completed the project, says the arrays will offset approximately 52 percent of combined electricity usage at the seven buildings, which include Joy Elementary, Niemann Elementary, Pine Elementary, Barker Middle School, Krueger Middle School, Michigan City Area High School and the MCAS Administration Building.

"This is a win-win project in so many ways," said MCAS Superintendent Barbara Eason-Watkins. “We’re excited to move toward ‘greener’ and more efficient buildings, and we’re very pleased that the project is being financed through energy savings, at no cost to taxpayers. This will benefit Michigan City Area Schools and our community for many years to come.”

Performance Services says the project was made possible by a net metering agreement with Merrillville-based Northern Indiana Public Service Co. 

Additionally, the district will implement a customized solar curriculum program developed by the National Energy Education Development project. Tim Thoman, chief executive officer of Performance Services, says the program directly benefits students by teaching them how their own school’s solar-generated system works.

Performance Services says the the project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity needed to power nearly 300 homes annually.