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Hawthorn District #73: Illinois Solar Schools Update No. 2

Saturday, April 19th, 2014
Here’s an update of what’s going on at Townline Elementary/School of Dual Language with the solar panels at that school:
4th grade: They are going to begin their unit on physical science about energy, which includes: solar energy and its conversion to other forms of energy such as electricity, which correlates to the Common Core Science Standards 4-ESS3.
1st grade:  Is planning on using items found within the NEED Project Kit such as the Nature Print Paper and is contemplating showing them an example of the model solar house when they begin their unit on sun, moon, and Earth
This update was provided by two teachers at the school:
Marissa and Ame
Here are some pix of the 8th grade energy fair held at Hawthorn District #73

Here’s an update of what’s going on at Townline Elementary/School of Dual Language with the solar panels at that school:

4th grade: They are going to begin their unit on physical science about energy, which includes: solar energy and its conversion to other forms of energy such as electricity, which correlates to the Common Core Science Standards 4-ESS3.

1st grade:  Is planning on using items found within the NEED Project Kit such as the Nature Print Paper and is contemplating showing them an example of the model solar house when they begin their unit on sun, moon, and Earth

This update was provided by two teachers at the school:

Marissa and Ame

Here are some pix of the 8th grade energy fair held at Hawthorn District #73

Hawthorn School Energy Fair

Hawthorn School Energy Fair

Hawthorn School Energy Fair

Hawthorn School Energy Fair

Hawthorn School Energy Fair

Solar School Projects: 3 Schools that highlight project visibility

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

One of the basic requirements for a solar school 1 kW grant project from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Project is visibility. The solar electricity panels are required to be installed so they are visible to students. The pictures below provide you with three (3) examples at schools around Illinois.

Unionridge

Unionridge

Prieto

Prieto

Elmwood

Elmwood

As you can see from the pix above, panels can be high up near the top of a tall school building (Prieto Academy in Chicago) or high on the wall of the building above the front entrance (Union Ridge) or near the ground at a level many schools call “mower height” that is near the front entrance of the school (Elmwood Jr/Sr HS). All of these installations create high visibility for the solar panels and make the solar school project at each school more successful.

Solar School at Kewanee High School in Kewanee, Illinois

Friday, April 5th, 2013

One of the newest schools in the Illinois Solar Schools Program is Kewanee High School in Kewanee, Illinois.

Illinois Kewanee High School

The installation is a 1.25 kW PV system using 5 REC 250 watt solar panels and an Enphase inverter. The panels sit at a 35 degree angle and are mounted on the edge of the roof so they are visible to the students at the school for this school year and for many years to come.

Kewanee High School has over 500 students which is rather large for a rural school but the average
class size is only 17 students. James Bryan is the Principal and our primary contact. Here is how he describes his school:

Kewanee High School offers unique programs for a rural school.  Kewanee High School offers a wide range of Career and Technical Education courses in business, family and consumer sciences, agricultural, woods, and metals(including welding). Along with our traditional educational programming, students at Kewanee High School are offered multiple avenues to explore in order to prepare them for life after graduation.  Kewanee High School also offers “dual credit” courses with the local junior college, Black Hawk – East Campus. These dual credit courses allow students to earn both high school and college credit at the same time for a nominal fee.

Gage Park is a Chicago Public School with Solar Electricity

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

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. “

Gage Park Solar Panel

Gage Park Solar Panel

Gage Park Kids

Gage Park Kids

Gage Park Gazebo

Gage Park Gazebo

Allegro Academy (has fun with science)

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
Allegro Academy

Allegro Academy

Rockford Illinois Mayor Lawrence “Larry” Morrissey spoke to the students at Allegro Academy in Rockford, Illinois recently at the school’s solar celebration. He told them how special their school was because it had a solar array on its roof that generated electricity from the sun. Mr. Shu Hong of the Solar Star Foundation was there along with Nick Poplawski of the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation who both helped to fund the project. Illinois Clean Energy provided $8,000 in funding while the Solar Star Foundation provided a $1,000 grant.

Dale McCormack, Mayor Larry Morrissey, Nick Poplawski, and Dave Merrill

Dale McCormack, Mayor Larry Morrissey, Nick Poplawski, and Dave Merrill

Nick Poplawski, Mr Shu Hong,  Mayor Larry Morrissey, and Allegro Academy Students

Nick Poplawski, Mr Shu Hong, Mayor Larry Morrissey, and Allegro Academy Students

Dale McCormack is in charge of the facility and he and Dave Merrill of Sunair Systems which did the installation were finally able to relax and enjoy the celebration. A group of music students played several songs under the direction of Ms Nanette Felix, principle harpist for the Rockford Symphony Orchestra.

Ms Nanette Felix and the school orchestra

Ms Nanette Felix and the school orchestra

While the kids may have had the most fun in the gym that day, Principal McCormack, seemed to be right behind them.

Principal McCormack

Principal McCormack

It is a great project and everyone there seemed convinced that the solar electricity system would provide some clean energy with a lot of educational support in the areas of science and math. Take a look at the solar schools website and the data for Allegro.

And for more information about the Solar-celebration ceremony, the school has included a number of pix and some video on the school’s web site.

Glebe Elementary School Celebrates SolarWorld’s First Solar2Schools Initiative

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Glebe Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia is simply a happy place. From my first step into the building, with its flamingo-pink walls and pet turtles (“please wash your hands after touching the turtles” suggested a sign in lobby), the school hummed with peaceful purpose. And the sense of focused calm went beyond the reason for my visit — celebrating the installation of a small, educational solar array. Even after the outdoor assembly had concluded, I felt a coordinated commitment to making learning joyful.

Glebe Elementary Principal, Jamie Borg, celebrating the first SolarWorld Solar2Schools installation

Glebe Elementary Principal, Jamie Borg, celebrating the first SolarWorld Solar2Schools installation

My role at Glebe was to help the school community celebrate SolarWorld’s first Solar2Schools initiative, and to thank the many people and organizations that made the installation of the 1.1 kilowatt system possible. Fortunately for all, it was a postcard perfect autumn morning, the sun shining warmly with not a cloud in the sky, as all 570 students, their teachers, a handful of smiling parents, and a gaggle of dignitaries gathered on the school field, accompanied by the 5th grade music ensemble, drumming under the new SolarWorld solar awning.

5th graders at Glebe Elementary drumming under the new SolarWorld solar awing

5th graders at Glebe Elementary drumming under the new SolarWorld solar awing

After remarks from Principal Jamie Borg and a few others, it was my turn to speak. I gave Astrum Solar, our installation partner, heartfelt thanks for their hard work on the project, and pointed out to the kids that the solar panels we were all looking at would still be there, generating clean renewable energy, in 25 years when they come back with their own kids to see the school they attended as youngsters.

Jamie Borg, Principal of Glebe Elementary School, interviews with local news station about SolarWorld Solar2Schools program

Jamie Borg, Principal of Glebe Elementary School, interviews with local news station about SolarWorld Solar2Schools program

Then, channeling my own four boys and their delight in getting adults to look slightly silly, I led the school board members, PTA leaders, state elected officials, and yes, even Congressman Jim Moran, in singing, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are gray. You’ll never know dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.”

Amy Keiter addressing the audience

Amy Keiter addressing the audience

Another form of alternative energy, the wind, blew over my SolarWorld banner, but by that time we were ready for the ribbon-cutting. The ceremonial scissors were almost as tall as the handsome, confident pre-teen who wielded them, with some assistance by Congressman Moran. As I packed up my scattered belongings, shamelessly eavesdropping, I was delighted to hear school administrators and parents scheming to add more solar panels to the school. “They look like they belong here,” said one of the Arlington School District facilities manager, with apparent surprise.

Glebe Elementary's Student Body President gets ribbon-cutting honors

Glebe Elementary's Student Body President gets ribbon-cutting honors

The National Energy Education Development project (www.need.org) will be SolarWorld’s partner on the education component of our Solar2Schools efforts, and Duncan and Jacob at Astrum Solar told me they’re willing participate in another Solar2Schools project, so I haven’t alienated anyone yet.

Loading my gear into the taxi for the trip to the airport and home to Oregon, I felt like I was in the closing scene of a movie. The credits should roll as the cab pulled away from the school, the kids playing happily on the field, the sun streaming through the brightly colored trees. Cue the music. Reprise. “You are my sunshine…”

-Amy Keiter, Community Relations Manager, SolarWorld Americas