Wisconsin Public Service Community Foundation recognized Valders High School as the first school in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, to join the SolarWise for Schools program. In August, the school received a 2 kW solar-electric system on its rooftop. Dedication ceremonies for the solar-electric system were held in the school’s gymnasium.
Vladers, Wisconsin – October 24, 2003 [SolarAccess.com]
Valders High School joins 22 other SolarWise schools in northeastern Wisconsin that are generating some of their own electricity using the power of the sun. Another five schools are using the SolarWise renewable energy curriculum package. So far, SolarWise for Schools has reached over 7,000 students at 27 high schools.
“SolarWise for Schools creates a win-win-win situation,” said Chip Bircher, Public Service’s program manager. “The schools save money, the environment benefits, and students learn first-hand about renewable energy.”
According to Wisconsin Public Service Community Foundation, each RWE Schott Solar 2-kW system generates about 2,800 kWh per year, which is estimated to be enough electricity to light three classrooms and save each school a little on their electric bills. Since the systems use sunshine as a “fuel” they also improve air quality. Each year for the next twenty years, the five new schools together will save 19,000 pounds of coal and prevent the release of 34,000 pounds of CO2, 180 pounds of NOx, and 156 pounds of SO2.
“The solar-electric system also provide ‘live’ laboratories for students to gain direct experience with renewable energy,” said Bircher. “Each SolarWise school receives a three-week renewable energy curriculum package that includes hands-on exercises for students.
All the SolarWise schools can access data on the Internet. And the SolarWise schools also have a chance to enter Solar Olympics, an annual renewable energy competition held in May on the campus of University of Wisconsin, in Green Bay.
Donations from customers of Wisconsin Public Service Corporation are making the SolarWise program a reality for a growing number of schools. Currently, 5,400 customers contribute to the program. The goal is to install solar panels on all 63 high schools in Public Service’s territory if funding is available. Customers interested in participating in the SolarWise for Schools program or who want more information may contact Wisconsin Public Service.
Government and business partners help make SolarWise for Schools a success. The program receives matching grants from the Wisconsin Focus on Energy. RWE Schott Solar Corporation provides the solar equipment and engineering expertise for the systems.