North Buncombe High School (NBHS) is one of the closest neighbors to our headquarters in Weaverville, NC, and we’ve enjoyed hosting Michael Rowe and his AP Environmental Science students for tours of operations for years. His enthusiasm for teaching about the benefits of solar technologies is unwaning, and so it was no surprise when he and his students really took on the Solar Schools Challenge pilot back in 2014.
The goal of the Challenge was to encourage hands-on, STEM learning around energy issues through a structured, friendly competition. Four of the participating schools were rewarded a solar demonstration system for their exceptional efforts, and NBHS was among them.
In preparation for another strong year of engaging his students in energy education, Michael spent some time with Brian Hollister, our Shop & Supply Manger, going over his system to be able to utilize it to the greatest degree. Brian helped wire the system so that the students will be able to see how solar energy is converted and stored. They’ll also be able to manipulate the angle of the photovoltaic module to show energy output levels. ” I’m hoping students will see the connections between our mini panel and the benefits of much larger systems on homes and fields on both an economic and environmental scale,” he said. (Michael and his family installed a solar hot water system several years ago, putting his interest to practice at his home.)
The NC Green School Program, now housed at Catawba College’s Center for the Environment, administers the Solar Schools Challenge and they have an invitation open to every k-12 teacher in NC to participate in the 2016 Challenge. Encourage your community’s school to sign on and join a generation of leaders and problem-solvers through engaging classroom activities exploring solar power.