Schools Teach Renewable Energy

Reader Contribution by Jaime Netzer

What if today’s children could help their families and communities better understand solar and wind power tomorrow? School districts across the nation are jumping on board the renewable energy train by embarking on their own solar and wind-powered adventures — and as schools apply for grants and set up wind turbines and solar panels, their curriculums are changing to reflect what they’ve learned about renewable energy.

Close to 20 schools in Vermont have installed wind turbine systems on their properties, and the Vermont Small-Scale Wind Energy Demonstration Program’s Web site offers resources for educators, from projects suitable for grade schoolers to high school lesson plans. Interested in teaching (or learning) about wind power? Check out this lesson plan from PBS.

On the other side of the country, four schools in Sacramento, Calif., are sharing a $25,000 grant from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) to develop solar projects. SMUD supplies the grants to educate the next generation of energy consumers. Students will participate in projects including: building a solar-electric vehicle, establishing a school-wide solar club, and testing the amount of energy saved by newly-installed solar panels.

Schools are a visible and logical place to implement renewable energy programs and education. For ideas on how to go about applying for a grant to fund such a program in your district, click here. Keep tabs on how our nation’s schools are investing in renewable energy by subscribing to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s Schools Going Solar RSS feed.