Solar in Athens: Athens Montessori School

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Athens Montessori School makes its energy! On the East side of Athens, Georgia, there is a small, forward-thinking Montessori school that is changing the way their students think about clean energy. The SolarSMART team was able to tour the school and see the solar array. When walking through the school grounds, it is easy to see why Warren McPherson, the founder of the Athens Montessori School, has emphasized the panels. The solar panels fit right in with the school's significant emphasis on environmental sustainability and conservation. The school also recycles and has several community gardens that the students tend themselves. 

In 2012 when the solar array was installed, they were the first school in Georgia to be powered entirely by solar energy. The 290 students attending school watched the construction avidly. Several children were interviewed for local papers, expressing excitement for the installation.

The solar array sits near the soccer field, in a fenced portion of the school grounds. The fencing keeps the students safe but still allows everyone to see what the panels are doing throughout the day.

Athens Montessori School Solar

Athens Montessori School Solar

Athens Montessori School Solar

Athens Montessori School Solar

Warren McPherson said that the solar panels power the entire school, all seven buildings! The three-panel array rotates to follow the sun throughout the day, maximizing the solar energy generated.

The 3-ton, 32-cell silicon panels generate about 17,000 kilowatt-hours per month, according to Josef Kullmann, president of Solar Sun World, the company that installed them. The solar array also has educational value. It's hooked up to students' computers, so they can see how much electricity is being generated and calculate the value, McPherson says.

AMS Solar Panels
Credit: Michael Gonyea via Google Maps

 

Read the AMS post about it here: https://athensmontessori.org/about-ams/ams-goes-solar/