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Solar panels installed at Oak Bay High to offset power for two physics labs

Monday, March 16, 2009

Students at Oak Bay High have turned textbook learning into reality.

Emerging from a Grade 9 science project on alternative energy forms, a group of students launched a campaign one year ago to fundraise money for solar panels at the school. They have since reached their $16,000 target and this week 10 solar panels are being mounted across the east building roof.

"There were lots of setbacks along the way so it's really nice to come through it all and know you've accomplished something," said Grade 11 student and project co-ordinator Sonora Godfrey. "When you're campaigning for anything it's hard to actually imagine your goal being met physically. Now that we can actually see (the solar panels) after all this time is really great."

Oak Bay High partnered with Victoria-based company Carmanah Technologies to develop the design. The panels will produce 2.08 kW of energy, which will offset the electricity needed to power two physics labs.

"It was an opportunity for kids to do something positive and meaningful, both at school and in their community," said vice-principal Garrett Brisdon. "It's taking what you learn and applying what you learn to make a difference in the world. The kids are involved in a project that's actually going to reduce our carbon footprint. It also brings awareness to other students about the whole notion of energy conservation and alternate forms of energy."

Even though a replacement school is expected in the near future, he says the solar panels are removable. There would be some additional wiring costs but all the equipment could be rebolted onto the new building.

The solar panels are expected to be up and running by the beginning of April.