What does it look like when a school goes solar? Students in Gerlach, NV, found out firsthand yesterday when they celebrated the installation of 90-kilowatt PV system at their campus in northern Nevada. The system will supply almost all of the energy needs of the three-building campus that serves 83 K-12 students.
“The solar panels will give our students good insight into the different ways we can address global warming issues with renewable energy,” said Gerlach Principal Carol Kaufmann. The system is the result of a collaboration between the Washoe County School District, MMA Renewable Ventures, SCHOTT Solar, Sierra Pacific Power, and the infamous Burning Man festival. The ground-mounted system will save the district approximately $20,000 per year.
“The Burning Man community has long been a part of the Northern Nevada community, and when this opportunity to give something back came up we jumped on it,” said Marian Goodell, board member of Black Rock City, LLC, the non-profit arm of Burning Man.
The Gerlach project kicks off Burning Man’s involvement, through Black Rock Solar, in solar projects throughout northern Nevada that take advantage of SolarGenerations rebates, established by the Nevada State Legislature and administered by Sierra Pacific Power to promote the use of solar energy and will offset a large portion of the costs of the Gerlach project. Through rebates and donated labor from Black Rock Solar and materials donated by MMA Renewable Ventures.
Kaufmann went on to note that the solar panels will be a springboard for integrating sustainability into the Gerlach curriculum with the help of Reno’s Desert Research Institute.
[This post was written by Kelli Best-Oliver]