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New City Jewish School Rockland's First Running On Solar Power

Rabbi Ari Jacobson, Dean and Principal of ASHAR (left) and David Bieber, system developer. Photo Credit: Silver Lining Solar
An aerial view of the 45,000 Square foot array at ASHAR. Photo Credit: Silver Lining Solar.

NEW CITY, N.Y. -- Just in time for the Festival of Lights, a Jewish school in New City is converting sunlight into enough electricity to power over 90 percent of its annual use.

Adolph Schreiber Hebrew Academy of Rockland (ASHAR) is the first Jewish school in Rockland County to go solar with a 45,000-square foot rooftop array.

Silver Lining Solar of Westchester is working in partnership with ASHAR on all aspects of the project.

The benefits of the project are not only reduced electric bills, but also opportunities for real-life, on-site education, said Rabbi Ari Jacobson, Dean and Principal of ASHAR.

On a spiritual level, the Biblical and Talmudic injunction against wanton destruction, or Bal Tashchit, calls for projects that do not destroy, and instead value renewable resources, he said.

The solar installation included a new roof. The 545 solar panels are held in place using a ballasted racking system that connects the panels and weighs the array down with concrete blocks.

ASHAR avoided all upfront costs by opting for a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that allows the School to indirectly share in federal tax credits for solar investments that would otherwise be forfeited because of its nonprofit, tax-exempt status. ASHAR purchases the solar electricity at a discount while avoiding the burdens and expenses of owning the actual system hardware.

Silver Lining Solar specializes in commercial solar energy. Its team of professionals designs, engineers, finances, installs and maintains commercial solar electric systems for businesses and non-profits in the tristate region. The team also secures permits, inspections, and rebate approvals, and works with electric utilities on commissioning and grid interconnection.

Barrett Silver, Silver Lining Solar President, a 10-year veteran of the solar industry, has helped clients in the residential, commercial, and utility-scale sectors of the industry employ over 5 MW of solar energy.

ASHAR is an Orthodox yeshiva serving nearly 375 pre-k through eighth-grade students.

Founded in 1954 and first housed in Monsey's Community Synagogue on Cloverdale Lane, the school was originally called the Hebrew Institute of Rockland County. In 1975, HIRC was renamed in memory of one of the school's founders. In September 2012, ASHAR moved to its current location in New City.

The school is located at 360 New Hempstead Road in New City.

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