Rochester High Schools Go Solar - <i>A Renewable Energy and Schools</i> Case Study

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10/12/2015
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This excerpt from MRES's Renewable Energy And Schools series profiles the extraordinary work done by students and administrators in Rochester's schools to get solar on each of their high schools. Through their efforts, a 5.88 kW solar array was installed on the roof of Rochester's Mayo High School, a 6.1 kW array was installed on Century High School, and a 5.88 kW array was installed on John Marshall High School.

Case Study:
Rochester School District:
Mayo, Century, John Marshall, Lourdes High School

Renewable Project Type: Solar Electric System

Description
In 2009 a 5.88 kW solar array was installed on the roof of Rochester's Mayo High School. In 2010 a 6.1 kW array was installed on Century High School and a 5.88 kW array was installed on John Marshall High School.

Project Goals
The initial project goal was to install solar panels on Mayo High School to demonstrate how renewable energy systems can reduce energy use and to educate students about renewable energy. This goal was expanded to all of the Rochester high schools. The student founders of this initiative created a non-profit group called the MN Student Energy Project (MNSEP). Their goal has expanded to ultimately partner with schools all over the State of Minnesota to install as many solar panels as possible and to incorporate renewable energy education into these schools.

Background
The project started when one of the student founders approached the Mayo High School Principal and said he wanted to try to get solar panels installed on the school. The Principal gave the go ahead and a group of students quickly began fundraising efforts for the purchase and installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. As the fundraising efforts met with success, the student group began to entertain the idea of putting solar panels not only on Mayo High School, but on all of Rochester's high schools, including the not yet constructed Lourdes High School.

Funding and Financing
The funds came from a number of sources, including: businesses and community organizations; a Clean Energy Resource Team (CERTs) grant, funding from the four participating schools, the American Public Power Association ($75,000) and other fundraising events. The student group was able to raise $140,000 in six months for the initial Mayo project. The group continues to use similar methods to raise funds for additional school projects.

In recognition of its outstanding work, MNSEP was awarded the 2010 Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy by the National Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Educational Benefits of System
School staff, administration, students and the Department of Energy are now working together to develop curriculum to implement into the classrooms. The plan is to have wide ranging curriculum dealing with science and renewable energy, climate change, economics and policy behind energy reform and to incorporate these elements into multiple subjects (math, political science, business, economics, English and others). Production data from the four solar installations will be available on the web for use within the curriculum and student science projects.

The Rochester School District has invested a lot of effort into planning, funding and installing these four renewable energy systems. However, they still have much work to do to reach their final goal of developing and incorporating the curriculum
described above. Planning for and funding curriculum integration in the early part of the project will increase the likelihood of achieving curriculum goals.

Looking Forward
MNSEP is currently exploring opportunities for partnerships with other school districts and hopes to have 25 partnerships in place for 2012. MNSEP is also working with Minnesota's state government and local Congress members to try to get legislation passed to support its mission.

This case study is being reprinted from the Renewable Energy and Schools: A Step by Step Guide (http://mnrenewables.org/REguide). If you would like your school or renewable project featured in the Solar Flare, please contact laurac@mnrenewables.org.

For more information visit http://mnrenewables.org/node/1130

Minnesota Renewable Energy Society
2928 5th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Phone: (612) 308-4757
info@mnRenewables.org
http://mnrenewables.org

Author: 
Minnesota Renewable Energy Society
Topic Areas: 
Energy
Resource Management
Target Audience: 
All
Geographic Location: 
All Minnesota
Southeast
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No
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No
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No
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No
Contact(s) or order information.: 

This excerpt from MRES's Renewable Energy And Schools series profiles the extraordinary work done by students and administrators in Rochester's schools to get solar on each of their high schools. Through their efforts, a 5.88 kW solar array was installed on the roof of Rochester's Mayo High School, a 6.1 kW array was installed on Century High School, and a 5.88 kW array was installed on John Marshall High School.

<b>Case Study:</b>
Rochester School District:
Mayo, Century, John Marshall, Lourdes High School

<b>Renewable Project Type:</b> Solar Electric System

<b>Description</b>
In 2009 a 5.88 kW solar array was installed on the roof of Rochester's Mayo High School. In 2010 a 6.1 kW array was installed on Century High School and a 5.88 kW array was installed on John Marshall High School.

<b>Project Goals</b>
The initial project goal was to install solar panels on Mayo High School to demonstrate how renewable energy systems can reduce energy use and to educate students about renewable energy. This goal was expanded to all of the Rochester high schools. The student founders of this initiative created a non-profit group called the MN Student Energy Project (MNSEP). Their goal has expanded to ultimately partner with schools all over the State of Minnesota to install as many solar panels as possible and to incorporate renewable energy education into these schools.

<b>Background</b>
The project started when one of the student founders approached the Mayo High School Principal and said he wanted to try to get solar panels installed on the school. The Principal gave the go ahead and a group of students quickly began fundraising efforts for the purchase and installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. As the fundraising efforts met with success, the student group began to entertain the idea of putting solar panels not only on Mayo High School, but on all of Rochester's high schools, including the not yet constructed Lourdes High School.

<b>Funding and Financing</b>
The funds came from a number of sources, including: businesses and community organizations; a Clean Energy Resource Team (CERTs) grant, funding from the four participating schools, the American Public Power Association ($75,000) and other fundraising events. The student group was able to raise $140,000 in six months for the initial Mayo project. The group continues to use similar methods to raise funds for additional school projects.

In recognition of its outstanding work, MNSEP was awarded the 2010 Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy by the National Association of Fundraising Professionals.

<b>Educational Benefits of System</b>
School staff, administration, students and the Department of Energy are now working together to develop curriculum to implement into the classrooms. The plan is to have wide ranging curriculum dealing with science and renewable energy, climate change, economics and policy behind energy reform and to incorporate these elements into multiple subjects (math, political science, business, economics, English and others). Production data from the four solar installations will be available on the web for use within the curriculum and student science projects.

The Rochester School District has invested a lot of effort into planning, funding and installing these four renewable energy systems. However, they still have much work to do to reach their final goal of developing and incorporating the curriculum
described above. Planning for and funding curriculum integration in the early part of the project will increase the likelihood of achieving curriculum goals.

<b>Looking Forward</b>
MNSEP is currently exploring opportunities for partnerships with other school districts and hopes to have 25 partnerships in place for 2012. MNSEP is also working with Minnesota's state government and local Congress members to try to get legislation passed to support its mission.

This case study is being reprinted from the <i>Renewable Energy and Schools: A Step by Step Guide</i> (http://mnrenewables.org/REguide). If you would like your school or renewable project featured in the Solar Flare, please contact laurac@mnrenewables.org.

<b>For more information visit http://mnrenewables.org/node/1130</b>

Minnesota Renewable Energy Society
2928 5th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Phone: (612) 308-4757
info@mnRenewables.org
http://mnrenewables.org

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