Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer
Mountain View Intermediate School (MVI) through the STEM program was one of 10 schools recently selected for the Solar+Schools Project. According to Jennifer Love, STEM coordinator, who wrote the grant, MVI will realize $800 per year in electrical savings for the next 40 years, for a total of approximately $32,000 in savings. But first, MVI must raise $6,000 by Sept. 30, toward the $27,000 total cost of the project, or they will forfeit the grant.
In addition to the solar array, which will be placed in front of MVI, the school will receive a weather station, real-time monitoring equipment, a STEM curriculum and lesson plans, giving teachers valuable, hands-on tools to educate their students about renewable energy.
“Our goal is to provide teachers and students with a really fantastic educational experience that can be used now and for years into the future,” says Vicky McCann, NC GreenPower’s vice president.
Introduced on April 1, 2015, NC GreenPower Solar Schools uses a portion of NC GreenPower donations to provide matching grants for small PV systems (3 kilowatts) at North Carolina schools. All K-12 schools are eligible, though preference may be given to those in economically distressed counties as defined by the NC Department of Commerce. Through the program, schools receive a 50% matching grant up to $10,000 and are then tasked with raising the remainder of the costs.
NC GreenPower also partners with the State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) Foundation, which offers a $15,000 challenge grant to selected public schools that enables them to increase their system to 5 kilowatts.
By the end of 2018, Solar Schools’ first four years had reached 27 North Carolina schools in 22 counties, bringing solar and energy education to more than 23,000 students.
MVI’s solar array is scheduled to be installed by Sept. 30 and a link to view the real time energy usage will be put on the Macon County Schools website.
To make a donation by check, make payable to “NC GreenPower” and be sure to note MVI in the “memo” section of the check. Mail to NC GreenPower, Attn: Solar Schools, 909 Capability Drive, Suite 2100, Raleigh, NC 27607. Donations to NC GreenPower on behalf of the school are tax deductible. For more information about the project and how you can donate, go online to https://donate.ncgreenpower.org/team/301302.