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Creston Elementary School installed an on-site photovoltaic (PV) system onto their building in July 2009, thanks to support from Gerding Edlen Sustainable Solutions, Portland General Electric and Energy Trust of Oregon. As part of Portland Public Schools' continuing effort to improve the learning environment for students, the district installed new roofs and seismically upgraded nine of their schools during the summer of 2009.
The Renewable Classroom PLUS project provided by Solar 4R Schools™ has helped Creston extend their commitment to renewable energy education by transforming their PV system into an interactive classroom tool for educators and students throughout their district. Energy monitoring services and equipment provided to Creston has connected the real-time performance data from their 27-kilowatt system to the Energy Exploration Center at Solar4RSchools.org. Students and educators nationwide can chart, graph and analyze the system's performance data for educational purposes.
To help engage school visitors in their commitment to renewable energy education and clean energy production, a Solar 4R Schools™ touchscreen kiosk was placed in a high traffic area of the school, giving visitors access to the system's energy generation data in real time.
In 2009, educators at Creston Elementary also received a customized renewable energy teacher training, hands-on science kit materials to augment the school's existing curricula, and complete access to the resources available on the Solar4RSchools.org website.
Notable in this project was the school 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 as well as provide on-site data for classroom projects. By choosing non-polluting, renewable energy and protecting important natural resources, the district aims to support 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. You can view a sketchup of the system here.