POLLOK, TX (KTRE) - Central ISD has gone solar. The sun is now helping the district save money on their electric bill and providing their students with a new learning tool. It's an interactive piece of technology that students can track and study.
The solar system was installed across the highway from Central High School at the district's renewable energy lab, and it makes Central the first district in the area to go solar.
"This whole site will be self-sustainable with zero impact on the environment in terms of the energy being used," said Central ISD Superintendent Allen Garner.
Many local businesses and SolarBridge from Austin collaborated on the project and donated services to make it happen, and it's the very latest solar technology.
"This is a new technology. This is a technology we feel is appropriate for public accessible spots," said Terrance Parker with SolarBridge. "The cool thing about these types of systems along with the panels you see up here is that they connect to the electricity systems you see up here in the buildings in a very standard way, but they include data logging. We never used to have that in the past."
And that's where students are getting the upper hand. They can log in online or download the SolarBridge app on their phone and look at all the data the solar panel is providing.
Students can see everything from how much energy is being generated to the environmental impact like the solar energy equivalent to barrels of crude oil, light bulbs, gas, and planted trees.
"The main thing is we want to give kids the opportunity to interact and have some hands-on experience with renewable energy, especially the solar power," Garner said.
It'll will also help cut Central ISD's overhead costs.
"Of course, it's going to lower their electricity bills because every day the sun comes up that's going to produce enough electricity to offset a few classrooms here at the school," Parker said.
Central ISD officials says the solar system all plays into their emphasis on Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, or STEM, education.
District officials say the project has been very successful, and they're already discussing expanding their solar footprint and adding more panels to the school buildings in the future.