Sandy Creek embraces the sun

Mon, 06/26/2006 - 8:15am
By: The Citizen

Learning about renewable energy and its impact on the environment can produce a significant “yawn factor” for many students, but Sun Power for Schools, a new initiative of Green Power EMC and Coweta-Fayette EMC, has made lessons more interesting.

Green Power’s new solar program partnered with Sandy Creek High School at the beginning of the school year and installed a one-kilowatt photovoltaic system to harness energy from the sun. This project, which represents the first statewide academic program to showcase the benefits of solar energy, has been an important component of the schools curriculum, providing students with a hands-on example of renewable energy generation.

A monitoring device allowed the students to see the amount of energy produced each day, and the accumulated data was used in science classes to provide additional resource materials to support classroom projects. Sandy Creek’s data is available on the internet and is being shared by other schools so they can compare the amount generated in various areas of the United States.

The solar panels are located outside on an inner courtyard wall in an area that is easily viewed by the classrooms. Students have learned the basics of how the collectors work and the cost required for their installation. According to the students, it has also been fun comparing the amount of available sun in Georgia with other states.

“The EMCs were the first utilities to offer renewable energy to Georgians,” says Michael Whiteside, President & CEO for the EMC. “We’re delighted to broaden our efforts and share another environmentally friendly technology with our high school students.”

The energy generated from the solar panels will become a part of a mix of renewable energy sources provided by electric co-ops to help reduce pollution, reserve natural resources and reduce the state’s reliance on traditional energy sources.

Coweta-Fayette EMC is a consumer-owned cooperative providing electricity and related services to 70,000 consumer/members in Fayette, Coweta, Heard, South Fulton, Clayton, Spalding, Troop and Meriwether counties.

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