By Ted Vansant
“We can’t wait to start integrating the data from our new rooftop solar energy systems into the everyday curriculum at our schools,” says Nicole Tomaselli, Curriculum and Instruction Administrator for the Hollis, NH Public School District. And it won’t be long before this is a reality as construction is just wrapping up on a 129kW rooftop solar PV system at Hollis Primary School and a 125kW system at the Hollis Upper Elementary School. This is the largest solar installation in NH owned by a public school district. The solar project is a part of a larger project at the school that includes conversion from oil to propane heating with high efficiency boilers, electrical and insulation upgrades and LED lighting.
This project is a great example of why solar energy projects at schools are so important. The practical use of solar PV energy provides saving in the school’s electrical cost while also providing educational benefits to the school and community. This is why New England Commercial Solar Services (NECSS) developed the Solar On Schools Program.
KW Management, Inc. of Nashua, NH was chosen as the contractor to engineer, procure and construct the solar PV systems at each school. By partnering with NECSS and their new Solar On Schools Program, KW Management is able to offer high-quality design and equipment, as well as world-class curriculum resources. According to KW Management’s president, Mark Weissflog, “We believe that solar energy offers an exciting and unique way to augment STEM education in all grades which is why we are now offering this Solar On Schools Program to all schools across New England.”
The solar energy systems include data acquisition systems, including a weather station, that allow system data to be viewed on any web browser enabling every classroom and every student at home or at school to use this data. Educators and administrators at the schools are now working closely with NECSS to integrate the energy data collected from the rooftop solar into their curriculum.
“KW Management and NECSS are very knowledgeable and excited about the educational benefits of solar technology,” says Tammy Fareed, Vice Chair of the Hollis School Board. “A recent photo opportunity for the project with a few students quickly turned into an engaging mini education session about how the technology works. NECSS has been working with our IT and curriculum staff to develop data-display systems for our buildings. In the coming weeks, our staff will receive training on the technology and curriculum resources provided through the Solar On Schools Program.”
NECSS was created to help mitigate climate change through education and deployment of commercial scale solar energy systems. KW Management, Inc. is a recognized leader in the commercial, public and utility solar industries with over 20 years of solar design, procurement and installation construction with a wide breath of full-service electrical competences in the renewable energy field.
Ted Vansant is founder and president of New England Commercial Solar Services, offering 17 years of solar design, construction and financing experience for schools, businesses and municipalities.