Four students at Nakusp Secondary School (NSS) are helping to fight climate change one solar panel at a time.
Grade 12 students Russdale Carungui, Hunter Guidon, Colby Mackintosh and Grade 11 student Kazia Hoppy installed 200 solar panels on the roof of NSS and 80 solar panels on the roof of Edgewood Elementary School (EES) between Oct. 5 and 12.
School staff selected students that they thought would benefit most to participate in the project.
“We picked kids who were thinking of going into the trades or environment science fields. Two of the boys either wanted to be a mechanic or go into construction,” said school principle Peter Gajda.
“In terms of the other two kids, one’s from Edgewood and is very active on their student council and the other student was looking to go into the military.”
The solar panels will produce sixty kilowatts of energy at NSS and 25 kilowatts at EES. An electrician still has to connect the solar panels to an inverter before they become operational.
The panels will also help students and staff install more green infrastructure at the school down the road.
“Part of the plan is to install some electric charging stations for vehicles at the school,” said Gajda.
“We’re hoping the energy from the panels will charge those and also offset some of the lighting costs.”
Renewable energy projects have already saved SD 10 schools substantial amounts on electrical costs. For example, solar panels that were already installed at ESS last year generated so much energy that it didn’t have a hydro bill during the summer.
Gajda said staff are thrilled that students were invited to be a part of the project.
“This project is great for the environment and helps students understand the need for these types of projects,” said Gajda.
“The district could’ve just done all this in house by hiring a contractor but by inviting them to help in the project, it’s let them acquire real world life skills.”
The project was made possible by a grant from the B.C. government.