Solar panels at PJH give kids new opportunity to learn

New solar panels will allow students to learn about the energy of the sun and generate power for the district.

Through a Blue Sky grant Preston School District has been able to build solar panels on the Jr. High grounds. The solar panels are a joint project between the Preston, Malad, and West Side school districts. Essentially, the grant was split evenly between the three school districts. All three schools get a set of solar panels, each the same size in area. The grant money covers the majority of the cost of the panels.

The district paid $10,000 from its general fund for the solar panel installment. Marc Gee, superintendent of Preston School District, predicts that the amount of money needed to be paid by the school could be paid off in about two years. The solar panels can generate about $5,000 dollars worth of energy per year. This is not nearly enough to cover the electrical cost of running the district, but it offers an amazing educational opportunity, he said.

Students can now observe how weather patterns can affect the amount of energy generated by the sun. There will be a kiosk set up in the school and on the school website that students can use to track the data taken from the solar panels. The solar panels were also built on the ground so that students could conveniently observe and study them.

“This is also a project that helps the district test how it can incorporate solar energy in to the district. “I look at it as both savings for the district and that a lot of curriculum can be connected to it: science, economics, cultural aims, etc,” said Gee. “Furthermore, having the existing system makes it easier for accepting grants that are designed to increase the number of the solar panels for the school.”

The system is not currently online. Rocky Mountain Power is still in the process of processing paperwork. A public ceremony will be held when everything is ready to go, said Gee.

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