On the South side of Chicago on South Rockwell Street, sits Gage Park High School. From a high perch at the top of the three story building, the six (6) SunTech photoelectric (PV) panels almost seem to be looking down the at the neighborhood. The solar electricity from these PV panels flows into the school and also helps to educate the students. As part of the educational side of this project, there is live data for the students to monitor and the school used curriculum provided by the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) from a series of teacher training workshops held in Chicago over the past few years. Most of the funding for the solar electricity system and all of the funding for the teacher training workshops came from grants funded by Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation in Chicago.
According to Gage Park Science Educator Patricia Parsons, “I found that before using this curriculum, students knew very little about solar energy and solar panels. After completing these activities, my students had a better understanding of solar energy, and how it will open up many doors for them in the future.”
The data from the Gage Park High School solar project can be found on the Illinois Solar Schools web site.
The panels were installed at 35 degree angle on the front of the school so that anyone entering the school can see the panels above their heads.
Gabriela Martin of the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation is also happy with the Gage Park High School Solar School Project. “We have a long standing relationship with the Chicago Public Schools and the Gage Park Solar School Project is another example of that partnership. This project also demonstrates how it is possible to connect schools to green energy in a way that will enhance their education in science and math in the short term and may help them find green jobs in the long term. “