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Mountain View Intermediate to plug into solar power

Source: 
The Franklin Press

The sun will shine a little brighter on Mountain View Intermediate after the school received a grant and the county's support to install a solar panel.

Macon County Schools STEM coordinator Jennifer Love updated the Macon County Board of Commissioners on the status of the project at the board's Sept. 8 meeting.

"I am here to share some good news, that in January before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we applied for a grant for Mountain View Intermediate School with NC GreenPower," Love said. "This year we were one of 10 recipients in the state of North Carolina for this grant."

NC GreenPower is a nonprofit that provides funding to install solar panels at schools across the state. The organization has awarded grants to 42 schools across the state since the program launched in 2015.

"It's going to cost roughly $28,000 to install this panel," she said. "It's much more expensive to install this type of panel than what we're paying."

The single panel will produce 5 kilowatts of energy per hour and will save the school about $800 in energy costs per year. But it's the investment in energy education that will pay the biggest dividends, Love said.

The energy station will show students energy production in real time. Fifth-and sixth-grade teachers at MVI will be trained in the energy curriculum, in which students will learn about ways to create, store and transfer energy. The panel will be installed on a pedestal in front of the school.

"They are looking at installing the panel sometime between October and December of this year, and then the professional development would take place, hopefully, in the spring of 2021," Love said.

The grant requires the school system to raise $6,000. Community organizations and a business contributed $4,500, leaving $1,500 to be raised by Sept. 30.

If the project raises more than the required $6,000, the school would have the option of increasing the size of the panel.

The board voted unanimously to write MVI a $1,500 check to get the projected started.

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