Hot Sun = Hot Knowledge for Chicago Students

Solar Panels on South Side School bring new light to the classroom

By Ginger Zee
|  Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009  |  Updated 2:30 PM CDT
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Going Green: Solar Panels Provide Power, Knowledge

Is solar the way to go?

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Going Green: Solar Panels Provide Power, Knowledge

One Chicago school is using solar panels to teach children the benefits of Going Green.
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Sun is power, and so is knowledge.  

Those two ideas have combined at Perspectives Math and Science Academy on Chicago’s South Side. With help from Climate Cycle, a not-for-profit group committed to putting solar panels on as many schools as possible, students at Perspectives now have a tool to learn and help off-set energy use.

Climate Cycle's founder, Joey Feinstein, said the installation cost more than $18,000, but to him and his crew, it's priceless.

"It feels like a very concrete way of giving back to kids," he said.

The project was backed by Motorola and warmly accepted by students and staff. 

The 1.2 kilowatts is only enough to power a few lights, but the main goal of the project is to teach kids about powering the future.

"That's going to make it real for them, and teach them to become stewards of the earth," said Perspective's Principal Mary Cummane.

Eighty percent of the work that went into the project went beyond the panels themselves and into the wiring, which was donated by Electrician’s Union Local 134.
 
The installation was completed on a cloudy day, but Feinstein said the cover doesn't matter.

"Fifty-seven percent of the world's solar energy comes from Germany, which is cloudier than Chicago!  Our brightest days are ahead so it's appropriate for the instillation to take place today.  Like sustainability, our ceiling is high, and our output in subsequent days will be higher too," Feinstein said.

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