Lake Stevens High’s solar panel to generate power, learning opportunities

LAKE STEVENS — Installation of a solar panel is planned for the roof of the Lake Stevens High School Performing Arts Center.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District recently awarded an energy grant to the Lake Stevens School District to cover the cost of installing a 5-kilowatt solar panel by the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

An informational kiosk showing the amount of power generated by the panel also will be assembled at the school, said spokeswoman Arlene Hulten. Renewable energy education curriculum for students is part of the project.

“It will fold into existing curriculum at high schools, middle schools and even at elementary schools,” Hulten said. “They will have access to a website that shows how many kilowatt-hours the solar panel is generating so they can look at the numbers and track them.”

All of the project’s costs are covered through the Snohomish County Public Utility District’s Planet Power program, said Neil Neroutsos, PUD spokesman. The program allows Snohomish PUD customers to make monthly donations to support local renewable energy projects in schools, city halls and other community buildings. The application for the Lake Stevens High School project was submitted by school district energy education specialist Barb Ossowski.

Three other projects also received grants through the program. A solar energy system used to power a computer lab and Wii tournament station is expected to be installed at the Carl Gipson Senior Center. Solar panel systems are planned for an outdoor picnic shelter rooftop at Edmonds Community College and on an outdoor walkway at the Future of Flight Paine Field.

The four projects are expected to cost between $43,000 and $61,000 each, Neroutsos said.

The Lake Stevens School District is in its second year of energy conservation programs, Hulten said. Efforts including turning off lights and computers and turning down heating systems in the district’s buildings when they are not in use have saved $660,000 in energy costs.

The district contracts with Energy Education, a company that builds conservation programs, Hulten said. The company plans to recognize the district at the Sept. 28 school board meeting with an award for positive environmental impacts.

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; adaybert@heraldnet.com.

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