Bright kids

Just in time for the new school year, High Desert Montessori is the latest local school to use renewable energy to power its facilities. Through NV Energy’s Renewable Generations, the school installed 360 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof and shade structures of the school, which will generate 79 kilowatts of electricity, which equates to 142,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year. The school also added four solar thermal collectors on the school’s roof, which will help reduce the facility’s natural gas usage. The project was completed by the Clean Energy Center and was funded through two grants from the U.S. Department of Energy—$15,000 for the solar thermal project and $20,000 for the photovoltaic panels.

According to NV Energy, the school will save around $17,000 in its power bill over the course of a year. It will also receive at $369,650 rebate for the solar panels and a $8,949 rebate for the solar thermal collectors.

“Finding ourselves in the wider universe involves tracking energy sources and uses, especially solar energy,” said assistant principal Linda Aaquist in a statement.

“We aim to leave the smallest footprint possible to allow for sharing energy with other Planet Earth citizens, an important part of our sustainability goals. Having solar hot water and solar electric, while making the solar panels our own through study in all our classrooms and viewing the structural components, inspires great connections in our student’s minds. Our solar projects will be incorporated into our science curriculum for kindergarten through eighth grade.” Aaquist is also a geologist and a Montessori education specialist.

A celebration for the new energy project will be held on Aug. 31, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the school on 2590 Orvada St., and will feature food and live music.