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Why the panels in a solar school project should be visible to students?

Solar School Projects can be any size and shape, but we want the solar panels to be installed so they are visible from school grounds. The solar panels can be mounted on poles, awning style, installed near the ground, or on the edge of the roof, so long as the students can see them. Solar School projects are primarily educational and this experience is far more valuable for students if they are able to see the technology first-hand.

These solar panels are almost invisible to the students at this school.

These solar panels are almost invisible to the students at this school.

The solar panels on this schools are always visible to the students.

The solar panels on this schools are always visible to the students.

In Solar School Projects where the arrays are large and installed for economic reasons, it may make sense to place the panels on the roof of the school. In our projects, the sizes of the systems are typically small and not designed for their economic benefit but for their educational value. If panels are hidden high on the roof of a school, it may be too dangerous for students to see them. Of course, your school can simply tell your students they are not allowed to see the solar panels because walking around on the roof is unsafe for students and potentially bad for the roof itself. How do you think that will work out long term? Students are often attracted to anything they are told they are not allowed to see. And why do the panels have to be hidden away? There is really no advantage to hiding the panels when it is just as easy to install them so that they are visible to the students at your school and maybe even the local community.

Also, as existing students graduate and leave the school, the new students may not even be aware there are panels hidden on the roof. This may be true with teachers as well. When teachers move on the new teachers may not know there are panels on the roof. If the panels are visible from school grounds, then the new students and teachers will know they are on your campus and ask about them and their educational value will continue over the long term.

–Glen Kizer

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