|NH Solar on Schools
Program Goals / How the Solar on Schools Program Works /
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Clean, renewable energy from the sun is now providing a portion of the electricity needs of seventeen New Hampshire high schools through their participation in the New Hampshire Solar on Schools Program initiated by the Governor's Office of Energy and Community Services. Each school is also incorporating educational materials on renewable energy provided by Solar on Schools into its educational program.
The one or two kilowatt solar electric (photovoltaic) roof-mounted systems provided by the program generate enough electricity to power up to 10 computers for four or five hours a day and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3,000 pounds a year, depending on the system's size.
The program's working partners are the Governor's Office of Energy and Community Services, Public Service of New Hampshire, and Solar Works, Inc., Wilton, NH. The program is supported by the New Hampshire Department of Education.
To educate students about the practical applications of renewable energy systems through creative learning exercises and to expose students to career opportunities in the growing field of renewable energy.
To provide students and the greater community with opportunities to learn about the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy resources and the important role they can play in meeting New Hampshire's future energy needs.
To link schools, utilities, and businesses in partnerships that promote energy efficiency, environmental awareness, and sustainable development
Interested high schools in Public Service of New Hampshire service territory complete a detailed application describing how they will incorporate renewable energy and the solar electric system into the school's educational program. A committee of Solar on Schools partners reviews the applications and awards the grants. This year's program provides one kilowatt systems costing $10,000, including installation, training, and educational materials. Each school is asked to contribute up to $1,000 with the balance funded by the Governor's Office of Energy and Community Services (ECS) and Public Service of New Hampshire. Each school will save enough on its electricity costs to pay back its contribution to the system's cost in about seven years. Other corporate partners and private contributors have joined the program as sponsors. ECS's share of the funding is from money awarded to New Hampshire and other states by the federal government for settlements with major oil companies related to customer overcharges in the 1970s. Twenty percent of high schools in PSNH territory are now participating in the program.
A system data monitor is also provided to each school. The monitor is located inside the school and provides detailed real-time data on the system's operation. The monitor can be connected to classroom computers, allowing for a variety of classroom math, science, and other educational exercises. In addition, reading materials, interactive software programs, and Internet resources on renewable energy are provided to the schools.
New Hampshire is a partner in the Million Solar Roofs Initiative, a United States Department of Energy program with a goal of one million solar systems installed in the United States by 2010. New Hampshire's Solar on Schools systems count toward the goal of one million. More than 20 states currently have Solar on Schools programs.
Photovoltaics (PV) convert sunlight directly to electricity through the use of modules of varying sizes. An inverter converts the incoming power from DC to AC for the electricity to be used as part of a building's electrical system. PV is used in a growing variety of applications. In New Hampshire, PV uses include providing power for homes, businesses, mobile roadside construction signs, ocean channel markers, and river flow and traffic monitoring devices. With support from the Governor's Office of Energy and Community Services, PV systems are operating at several locations, including the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, the New Hampshire Technical Institute, the Seacoast Science Center at Ordiorne State Park, Rye, The Harris Center for Conservation Education and the Massabesic Audubon Center in Auburn.
"The instructional seminars were helpful in gaining an understanding of the PV system, its components and ways to include the system in various curriculums. We have already used it as the centerpiece for student projects and will incorporate the science and technology of photovoltaics into the Project Lead the Way pre-engineering program at out school. A technical writing class wrote press releases for the Tour of Solar Homes last fall. Middle school students based several energy projects on our system."
Will Renauld, teacher, Hopkinton High School
NH Hosts First Regional Solar on
Schools Conference, October 24, 2000
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