Students and staff from NAIT’s Alternative Energy Technology program have developed rooftop solar panels for Hillview Elementary School. Designs for the system began in 2014. The panels are part of an effort to teach children about alternative energy. The project was funded by the City of Edmonton via a $26,000 EcoCity Edmonton sustainability grant.
One of NAIT’s values is building community and that was absolutely the goal of Alternative Energy Program chair Jim Sandercock.
“It’s a real good opportunity for NAIT to give back to the community,” Sandercock said.
“It’s also a real good opportunity for our students to get real world experience on real projects. Under the supervision of NAIT staff, they took this from a concept to reality. We were happy to work with our partners on this project.”
NAIT, the City of Edmonton, Edmonton Public Schools and Hillview school initiated this project as a collaborative effort. The solar array helps power the school, providing teachers with a first-hand example of alternative energy production for students. Real-time data is available for NAIT students (and the public), including information on how much energy is being produced.
“It has about the right amount of energy production on an annual basis to probably cover off about half of an annual home’s electricity consumption for the average Alberta home,” stated Sandercock.
“This array is an important tool in teaching our students about conservation, ” stated Hillview principal Duncan McColl.
“They will see how the solar panels are helping to offset the school’s consumption of energy. We’re excited to be contributing in a positive way to reducing our environmental footprint.”
“The City is proud to be a part of this project,” stated Environment Director of City Environmental Strategies Mark Brostrom.
“The grant program was set up to get Edmontonians motivated and excited to tackle environmental issues. Not only do solar panels promote renewable energy solutions and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they also present an opportunity for elementary school students to learn about alternative energy production and our City’s Energy Transition Strategy.”
NAIT’s Alternative Energy Technology program explores non-traditional sources of energy and the benefits of using more environment friendly energy resources. Students in this program have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and practical skills required for careers in the energy industry.
Demand for alternative energy sources is growing rapidly. With the price of oil rapidly decreasing, other energy sectors are expanding. While the oil slump is problematic for Alberta, NAIT students in the Alternative Energy Technology program have a bright future ahead of them. Careers in renewable energy are increasing with the evolving industry. Hillview school’s solar photovoltaic array is just the start of the changes Alternative Energy students can make to the community.
Image from NAIT