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Atkinson Elementary School in Portland, Oregon installed their 115.2-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system in July 2009. As part of Portland Public Schools' continuing effort to improve the learning environment for their students, the district installed new roofs and seismically upgraded nine of their schools during the summer of 2009. Notable in this project was the district's introduction of thin-film silicon solar cells on the roofs. Solar cell technology gives the schools the ability to produce clean roof-top energy.
In addition to building a dedicated community of renewable energy educators, the Renewable Classroom PLUS project provided by Solar 4R Schools has transformed the school's PV system into an interactive classroom tool for the entire Portland Public Schools district. Energy monitoring services and equipment provided to Atkinson has made their system's live performance data available to educators nationwide at Solar4RSchools.org, allowing classrooms to chart, graph, compare and analyze the system’s performance in real-time. A touchscreen kiosk placed within the school gives visitors, parents, teachers and students the ability to interact with live system performance data while learning how solar energy works.
Atkinson Elementary School educators received an in-person renewable energy teacher training from Solar 4R Schools matched with a custom-picked set of hands-on science kit materials to augment the school's existing curricula, and complete access to the resources available on the Solar4RSchools.org website. By choosing non-polluting, renewable energy and protecting important natural resources, the school is making a difference in the health of their community and environment, now and for generations to come. It is their hope that this project will inspire students to pursue careers and make decisions that make our world a better place.