Thursday, April 10, 2008

Students' Solar Study To Shine

Students' Solar Study To Shine
By Melissa Murphy
Article Launched: 04/10/2008

At Vacaville's Padan Elementary School, the sun has become a very important celestial object - and not just for those youngsters learning about the solar system or studying the sun's role in warming the earth.

It's just that the school needs lots of sunny days in order to receive the maximum benefit from a new solar energy panel being installed there.

It provides its own learning opportunities, of course.

"It will give our students an opportunity to learn about conserving energy and the sun as a resource," said Principal Kim Forrest after Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremony. "This will give them the tools to be inventors and investors for alternate energy sources."

Padan was awarded a $25,000 Solar School Grant by PG&E to pay for the new panel. The Solar Photovoltaic System, to be installed by Solar City, will have a one-kilowatt Solar Panel, which equals the energy used by one classroom.

The grant also provides a solar-based curriculum training package, a hands-on approach to teaching.

The Solar Panel will be an example of energy conservation and will be used as a teaching aid throughout the district.

Padan fourth-grade teacher Jerry Nelson said students will be able to compare energy production with other schools that received the same grant.

"We know the importance of finding cleaner options for energy instead of fossil fuels that cause pollution," said Nelson, adding that although the solar panel won't produce mass amounts of energy, "It does start the discussion at an early age. We want to pique their interest right now."

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