WSAW - Reporters - Britney Shiflet

SolarWise Program Comes to Lakeland Union High

By: Britney Shiflet Email
By: Britney Shiflet Email

Schools are constatnly trying to up the ante when it comes to technology in the classrooms, but one local high school is taking that to a whole new level. This morning Lakeland Union High School installed their newest addition to the campus, SolarWise solar panels.

It's taken multiple bids, a major grant, and a lot of community support, but Lakeland in finally a SolarWise institution, a title you must apply and complete the process to attain.

Lakeland Principal Jim Bouche showed his pride for the achievement saying, "when this came to fruition, having the opportunity to have this grand and SolarWise at our school, it just fit very well with our technology and our scheme of learning here."

SolarWise Curriculum Instructor and Environmental Science Teacher Ryan Bock added to his comments when he said, "Towards last year, rumor got out that we were going to have solar panels constructed on the roof and they students were very excited about it. A lot of them have friends in other schools who had the panels as well so that just added to the excitement."

The SolarWise program has been run through the Wisconsin Public service for sixteen years now. That makes Lakeland Union High School the 48th out of 63 high schools in the WPS electric service area to become a full participant in the SolarWise for Schools project.

The purpose of the project is to give back to the schools in the area by using solar pannels and a specially designed curriculum to educated students about solar energy. And when it comes to harnessing the sun's rays and using that for projects, the sky's the limit.

Here's how the solar panels work: it takes about eight seconds for the photons from the sun to reach the cells on the panels, then the crystals in the cells react to transmit a total of 2.4 killowatts of energy. That energy is then transfered through a cable down to the classrooms when the energy will be used for a variety of projects. The new electric system will power and light three average size classrooms, saving the school about $350 in energy costs a year, a benefit for tax-payers and Lakeland. Bouche admitted though the program does cut fees, it's main purpose is to educated the students and get them involved in learning about this renewable energy source.

All the selected schools using SolarWise are eligible to participate in the Annual "Solar Olympics", a one- day event scheduled for early May 2013 at the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh. The Olympics will benefit science junkies and artistically-gifted students alike as they compete in events ranging from building solar-powered water heaters, cookers, and race cars to designing sculptures and composing essays.

To learn more about this cross-curriculum program SolarWise, you can visit this web site:

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