The Government of Alberta is adding new funding for solar panels at 36 school projects throughout the province.
Two of such are in Fort McMurray as École McTavish is expanding to add Grades 10-12 as well as a new Catholic School in Parsons Creek which would have students from kindergarten to grade 6.
All projects are only eligible because they’re in the planning or the design phase and have not gone to tender.
“We have heard directly from students from across Alberta and their message is clear – they want us to be leaders on climate change,” said David Eggen, Minister of Education. “A number of school boards had already been asking about the possibility of installing these panels and we are pleased to be able to partner with them to invest in our public infrastructure.”
According to the GOA, the idea was recommended by students to demonstrate leadership on ending climate change.
“Climate change is real. Albertans are ready to take action because ignoring the problem is not a solution. Installing solar panels on schools is one way our future leaders can learn about energy options that reduce long-term cost and emissions,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office.
The investment would be around $9 million with more discussions being made with the various schools. A committee will also be established to evaluate the impact of the solar panels with the goal being to expand the program.
Funds will also be provided to enable these schools to add an education component to the installation and operation. An example given, is an app which would allow students to follow power generated by solar while highlighting the potential of the panels reducing greenhouse gases.
The 36 schools are not being forced to take part, volunteer only. No word yet if École McTavish or the new school in Parsons Creek will take part in the initiative.
Costs would vary for each project, but it’s being estimated between $250,000 to $750,000 per school for a solar panel array, factors being size of school, size of array installed and local site conditions.