Elder Grove adds solar panels to help conserve energy - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Elder Grove adds solar panels to help conserve energy

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

Over the years, Elder Grove has been adding energy-efficient updates to the school. This work includes passive solar, programmable thermostats, and occupancy sensor lighting.

As of Wednesday, Elder Grove has been in the process of adding 120 photovoltaic panels to their school, thanks to a Northwest Energy grant.

The school recently received a donation of about 150 laptops. With these being added to building five, the middle school building, The school became concerned with the amount of energy they would be using. Since Elder Grove has worked with Northwest Energy before, making the school more energy efficient, they decided to go through them again and found a Renewable Energy Grant program that made all this possible.

With the panels they are looking to save between $225-350, based on the current rate of 11 cents a kilowatt/hour, and the system is designed to last 20-50 years.

Carol Phillips, the District Technology Director, said “You will get to actually watch it on a web interface. You'll get to see how much power it’s generating on daily basis and how much we saved because of that. That we would have had to normally pay through the normal channels.”

Science teachers are also taking this opportunity to create a curriculum to review how solar energy works, and the installer of Sundance Solar Systems, Henry Dykema, will be working with the students to make solar energy come to life through innovative experiments.

Ongoing education is so important, not only for the kids, but for the community as well, so the Adult Education Director has offered to give tours to interested parties and the school is also talking about adding a class, where they will share all their experiences with the program, in case an individual or business would interested in moving forward with their own solar panel project.

When I asked Dykema his favorite part about teaching kids the science behind solar panels he said, “When you hear some kid from some corner of the room saying ‘Oh! That's how it works,’ if you can get that response then you know you've got something. Technology is tough.”

90% of the solar panels have been paid for with the Northwest Energy grant, leaving Elder Grove with around $65,000 left to pay.

If you would like to help with the costs you can reach out to Carol Phillips, at Elder Grove, for more information.  

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