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It’s good to be exposed to environmental issues at a young age. Giving kids hands-on experiences helps them understand the importance of living sustainably and how easy it can be to make a difference.
Community Solar for Our Schools is a collaborative project – developed by Islands Energy, administered by the San Juan Islands Conservation District, and sponsored and supported by OPALCO and Bonneville Environmental Foundation. The project will generate renewable solar energy for San Juan County public schools, reducing the schools’ electricity costs (all the energy generated will be donated to the school districts) – and providing tremendous educational opportunities.
Solar for Four Island Schools
Four solar arrays will be installed at the public school districts on Lopez, Orcas, San Juan, and Shaw Islands. Bonneville Environmental Foundation will provide educational curriculum, materials, and teacher training through their Solar 4R Schools Program, to support the schools’ science programs.
Middle-school girls build a solar-powered Lego lawnmower in Science class
The total cost is anticipated to be $200,000. Member participants will provide $140,000, and Bonneville Environmental Foundation and OPALCO will make up the difference. There will be no cost to the school districts for the purchase or installation of the solar arrays. Member contributions to date are over $70,000, including local businesses community organizations. The Orcas Island Odd Fellows contributed $10,000; the Orcas Island Lions Club contributed $500.
Contributions Can Be Treated As Micro-Loan
San Juan County residents and businesses residing in the OPALCO service territory can participate by purchasing 1 to 100 solar units. Each solar unit (approximately 50 Watts) costs $100, and each participant can purchase up to 100 solar units (5 kW for $20,000). Participants will receive annual energy production incentive payments through 2024 (at a rate of $.30 per kW hour). It is estimated that these incentives will pay back participants for the cost of the solar units purchased within 10 years. In other words, your loans help kick-start the program, and you receive payments back each year.
Solar for our schools is a concept coming to life. The energy is there, the students are eager to learn, and installation is slated for Spring 2015. Please consider contributing. There are three ways to sign up:
1) Email firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Online www.sjislandscd.org
3) Call the San Juan Islands Conservation District at 378-6621
To read about other local renewable education projects OPALCO has sponsored, click the links below: