Monday, July 22, 2013

Green Energy - Putting Solar at our school

Two years ago I started a project with my Physics class to research green energy for our school.  It included all reports, vendor contacts, etc -- and I sat back and advised but did not teach it.  I let the students find their way.

Now we are closing in on it happening!  When you combine curriculum, problem solving and real world things together cool stuff happens (true PBL!)!  Here is an article we did a couple of weeks ago for the local papers:

Green Things Take Time

            Two years ago the 2011-2012 Juda Physics class embarked on the ambitious project to install a green energy system at Juda school.    It was a year-long project incorporated into the Physics class.  “Sometimes good things take time” may be the best statement about the solar panel project at Juda School. 

The project consisted of students’ research, reports, studies, project bids and studies, and timelines.   The students’ assessment determined that a 24 panel roof-mounted solar array was the best fit for the school with a price of approximately $25,000.  The students gathered bids from multiple suppliers, checked and organized permits, completed an energy audit, updated project progress to the school board and many other tasks.  But as teacher Scott Anderson stated “I am extremely proud of the project they created, but like many green projects the payback was just too high to immediately proceed without some additional funds.”

So working with the selected solar supplier, Synergy Renewable Systems located in Oregon, a grant was applied and received from Focus on Energy.  The $3,755 grant helped clear a big hurdle towards the additional funding the project needed; that grant along with a $2,000 labor credit from Synergy and some funding from student organizations, has now brought the project to the brink of being a reality.

            The previous and current Juda Physics classes are now asking local businesses and community members for support to help fulfill their vision of a green school.  They see the solar array not only as a power source but as a source of school and community pride.  “This will change how Juda’s students think about energy and power; it will also change the culture of our students with respect to energy.” says Scott Anderson

The goal is to get enough funding so the project is able to proceed this summer prior to the start of school.  To see progress of the solar project, or to help fund the project please visit