STEVENS POINT, Wisconsin (WSAW) – The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) is trying to convert as many schools in Wisconsin to solar energy as possible to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs.
MREA started “Solar on Schools” in November 2019 and is providing grants of US $ 20,000 to cover the cost of the installation. A school in the Central Wisconsin area sees the benefits.
“Schools are generally a central element of the community. So when schools do things, not only do they respect other school districts, but the wider community as well, ”said Amanda Schienebeck, MREA program manager.
Schienebeck said schools in Wisconsin collectively spend $ 175 million a year on energy bills each year.
Something she believes can be brought down easily and will ultimately help the students.
“Solar power and renewables are a great opportunity to cut these operating costs without cutting back on education programs,” she said.
22 Wisconsin schools have already taken the solar path and are providing around 50 kilowatts of electricity with the help of a grant of US $ 20,000. An advantage that the Mid-State Technical College at Stevens Point cannot deny, especially for the students.
“That was great for us. It gives our students some great hands-on experience, some great, relevant experience in the world of renewable energy, ”said Dean Ryan Kawski of the Mid-State Technical College School of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering.
Mid-State had its solar systems installed by its own students of renewable energy technicians in July 2020.
The solar energy provides about 15% of the electrical capacity of the campus.
The school was able to use the money saved from electricity bills to improve its renewable energy curriculum.
“We are able to redesign these courses for these students so that the students remain relevant in this area,” said Kawski.
MREA hopes that at least 40 Wisconsin schools will be solar powered and, ultimately, more will be able to join the trend.
“We really hope to use schools as a kind of centerpiece to drive solar adoption even further than is already the case in Wisconsin,” said Schienebeck.
The Marshfield School District was also solar powered by this program.
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