Acequia Madre Goes Solar!
School District Decides to Fund Shovel-Ready GWE Project
One of the Big Goals for the The Global Warming Express Club at Acequia Madre Elementary is to get a solar array installed at our school. We are working with Lisa Randall from the Santa Fe Public School District and Maria Hondros from a company called Positive Energy Solar, who would manufacture and install the structure. At first we thought we would have to raise the money needed to build the solar panels, because our school is old and small. But just this fall (2014) we learned that because we had gotten the plans all ready, the school district has moved our project up their list and will pay for it themselves!
The solar panels would be too heavy to be mounted on the roof of the school. Therefore a structure needs to be built. The structure will be 141 feet long, and 8.9 feet tall in the front and 10.8 feet tall in the back. Because of this height difference, the panels are positioned at a 10 degree angle to capture the most sun light. This is what it would look like:
The structure will be located on the eastern half of the north wall of the school property. It will also provide shade for students on hot days. Can you see it back there in the corner of the playground?
Lisa and Maria calculate that this solar array will generate 43% off the school’s electrical power needs. Here they are, explaining how it all works.
We helped them figure out how big the array should be and where to locate it. The structure would consist of 80 high efficiency SunPower solar modules (the highest technology today). These kinds of panels do not create any glare, so the neighbors shouldn’t mind. The panels are warrantied for 25 years but are rated to produce power for 50 or more years. They will withstand one-inch hail falling with a speed of 60 miles an hour, so there is no worry that balls from students will damage them. Over a period of 25 years the solar array would save 915,600 pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere and 261,600 gallons of water from being used in steam turbines. The structure will save the school district $325,000 over 25 years. The cost of the solar panels is the equivalent of 13 years of power from PNM.
We held a meeting to show our plans to the school’s neighbors. Here I am at the meeting with my mom, Ariel.