Solar panels at Chippewa Middle School a cost-efficient lesson in energy

Mounds View Public Schools are partnering with a local solar provider to meet its ongoing sustainability goals.

- Chippewa Middle School principal Rob Reetz is fired up about the future.

“It’s beautiful. It’s fun. We’re producing energy is our classrooms. And we’re producing energy on top of our classrooms. So we’re real excited about it,” he explained.

On Friday, we took him up on top of the roof to get his first look at the brand new solar panels that will help provide electricity to the building for years to come.

“This will work in any kind of weather. It’s going to generate power even if it’s snowing or raining. We are still getting a bang for our buck,” Reetz said.

Mounds View Public Schools are partnering with a local solar provider to meet its ongoing sustainability goals. Panels will soon top half-a-dozen schools. The district figures it might reap $1 million dollars in electricity savings over the next 25 years, all while students in the classrooms below get a real-world lesson in renewable energy.
“I think that’s really cool because I heard solar panels are really expensive. So I was surprised that we had them,” eighth-grader Lily Shen said.

The solar panels at each of the schools will have web-based monitoring equipment tracking data in real time.
“It’s a double whammy. We get the cost savings which grow every year. And then we get to use the curriculum that shows students to be innovative. You can look at energy. You can look at math. You can look at science,” Reetz said.

The solar panels at each of the schools will have web-based monitoring equipment tracking data in real time, including the amount of energy generated, the amount of energy used and the cost savings. That’s all information teachers can incorporate and analyze in math and science classrooms.

“Our school is really big and so that’s a lot of energy, and so by using solar panels, we’re probably cutting down on energy a lot. That also cuts down on costs,” eigth-grader Jenna Stellmack said.
 


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