Young children really dig solar energy at Silver Bow Montessori School

May 25, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Maiya Carpenter, 8, helped her school rise above high electricity bills when she and seven other classmates helped install 10 solar panels on Silver Bow Montessori School’s lower elementary classroom building.

“It was fun because we got to go on the roof,” said Carpenter, a natural leader with a sunny disposition. “We were on a platform, so I stepped on the roof with one foot.”

The student helpers left their historical mark on the project by unloading the panels, then signing a section of the panel array.

A $8,450 grant, administered by NorthWestern Energy, enabled the project to get off the ground. It covered the cost of materials, too, while Orion Thornton of Onsite Energy LLC, a certified solar installer, donated the labor.

The project fits in perfectly with what Montessori Director Don Kronenberger said is part of the curriculum: learning about various forms of clean energy and how it’s generated.

“We’re always interested in saving money and educating the kids about energy sources,” he said.

The 2.45-kilowatt solar electric system will offset the electrical consumption in the building and transmit energy to two other buildings on the five-acre property south of Butte.

Nifty Bluetooth technology easily allows the solar inverter to transmit data to any computer in the complex.

Montessori will save about $316 on its energy bill while producing 3,100 kilowatt-hours each year.

“The energy production of the system varies throughout the seasons,” added Thornton, “and any excess energy produced on a month-to-month basis can be credited and used at a later date.”

Reporter Renata Birkenbuel may be reached via email at; or telephone 496-5512.

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