As renewable energy becomes a growing part of Virginia’s energy mix, Dominion Energy says it is expanding its Solar for Students program to give more students hands-on experience with solar power.
Dominion Energy has selected five additional public schools in Virginia, as well as one children’s museum, for the chance to observe and learn firsthand about harnessing solar energy from a solar array installed right outside the classroom. Four public schools piloted the program in 2015, so the program has more than doubled in size.
“We are very excited to expand the reach of the Solar for Students program to give more organizations the chance to engage children in learning about clean, renewable solar energy,” says Hunter A. Applewhite, president of the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. “It’s a technology that holds great promise and one that our company is fully committed to expanding. The students participating in this program will learn firsthand about an energy source that will play a large part in powering their futures.”
Dominion Energy and its charitable foundation now have funded 10 Solar for Students projects and partnered with another five schools or universities to install rooftop solar panels through the company’s Solar Partnership program.
“Teaching our children the fundamentals of science and technology is an essential part of preparing our students for the future,” comments Dietra Trent, Virginia Secretary of Education. “I’m pleased to see that more students across Virginia will have the opportunity to learn about clean energy and 21st-century jobs.”
The following organizations have been selected to participate in Solar for Students:
- Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (Albemarle County);
- Children’s Museum of Richmond (Richmond);
- Deer Park Elementary School (Newport News);
- Hampton High School (Hampton);
- Kenmore Middle School (Arlington); and
- MathScience Innovation Center (Henrico).
Each participant will receive a 1.2 kW photovoltaic system, as well as technical support, educational materials and training for educators. Each solar array will have a visual display that shows students and faculty real-time data on the amount of electricity generated.
The NEED Project (National Energy Education Development) will administer the program once again by providing technical support, coordinating the installation of solar panels, preparing educational materials for students, and training the teachers.
“We are honored to continue our partnership with Dominion Energy and bring high-quality energy education to Virginia,” says Mary E. Spruill, executive director of the NEED Project. “Solar for Students brings together all that makes learning about energy fun: A solar electric installation, hands-on STEM activities, teacher training and a curriculum that can engage and inspire tomorrow’s energy experts.”
After the solar installations are completed during the 2017-18 school year, the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation will sponsor a “Solarbration” at each location to showcase the solar projects and give students, local officials and community members the chance to learn more about this collaborative learning project.
Solar energy is growing rapidly in Virginia. Dominion Energy says it has invested nearly $1 billion in solar projects since 2015 and currently has a dozen new projects under way. The company has long-range plans to bring 5.2 GW online by 2042 – enough to power 1.3 million homes.