Broadening Solar’s Impact in the Classroom

On November 12th Innovative Power, in cooperation with REcharge Labs, conducted its first ever Solar Schools Workshop in Minnesota. More than 30 educators were on hand at Mounds View High School to learn about the newest opportunities to incorporate solar into their curriculum. Teachers experimented with solar panel fountains and built solar powered model houses provided by REcharge (that’s my sad-looking green house – it’s function that matters right?). I was on hand to discuss how IPS helps school districts install solar projects for little to no money out of pocket.

As a local company, IPS Solar is committed to making a big difference on district energy costs as well as in Minnesota classrooms. Earlier this year we installed 6 projects for the Mounds View School District, with at least two more on deck for 2017.

Our team also worked with the Red Wing and Chisago Lakes school districts on Community Solar Garden projects in 2016. With all of our systems educators, administrators, and students can access data from their panels online, anytime. The web-based portals allow visitors to see current and historic production with references to real-life impacts like trees saved and pounds of CO2 offset.

Incorporating more renewable learning opportunities into coursework is important and vital to the future success of our workforce. Solar and wind now account for more than 3 times as many jobs as coal energy. In order for the US to be competitive into the future young people must be exposed to renewable technologies early and often. As a product of St. Paul Public Schools, science and technology classes ultimately pushed me toward a career in renewables.

We expect to continue this work in 2017 and beyond. In addition to Mounds View other projects for Columbia Heights, West St. Paul, Chisago Lakes, and Lester Prairie schools will be completed over the next 12 months. According to the Solar Energy Industry Association over 3,700 schools have gone solar so far, meaning more than 2.7 million students are affected either knowingly or unknowingly every day. At IPS we’re happy to accept our responsibility to increase solar’s impact beyond the roof and into the classroom.

Contact IPS to learn more about how solar can benefit your school.

Check out our recent projects with local schools

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