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New Vista High School Flips the Solar Switch

In an extraordinary effort of achievement, a small group of committed students at New Vista High School witnessed the fruits of their labor as they helped flip the switch to a new solar panel system recently installed at their school.

After completing the Community Adventure Program, the core educational program of the Cottonwood Institute, a group of students came together because they wanted to continue making a difference in their community. They started a student-directed club at New Vista High School called the Earth Task Force and agreed upon a common goal: to help reduce their school’s environmental footprint.

They collaborated with the Boulder Valley School District’s Sustainability Coordinator, Ghita Carroll, who paid for an energy audit of their school. They helped write a grant to the Earth Day Network to install a solar panel system at their school and they won the grant! Simple Solar, a Boulder-based company, installed the solar panel system just before Earth Day 2010. This system will help significantly offset their schools energy bill, reduce CO2 emissions, and help the school save money during tough economic times.

Here are a few impressive stats about the system:

  • Simple Solar installed 22 Siliken solar panels, which will produce about 6,765 kilowatt hours per year.
  • The clean energy produced by the system will eliminate 12,177 pounds of CO2 per year, the equivalent of reducing the number of vehicle miles driven by 15,154 per year or planting 534 trees.
  • Assuming modest increases in electrical rates, the system will save the school about $32,472 to $40,590 over the course of the 40 to 50 year expected life of the system.

According to one Earth Task Force member, “as students in the modern world, we have taken it upon ourselves to act towards our vision of a just and sustainable world. We have dedicated many hours to plan events to raise awareness about environmental issues, and to make our vision a reality.”

This is project is an excellent example of community leaders we are inspiring through the Cottonwood Institute. A special thanks goes out to Boulder Valley School District, New Vista High School, the Earth Task Force, Simple Solar, and the Earth Day Network for making this project possible.


Categories: Earth Task Force

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