Lincoln-Way Installs New Solar Panels
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Lincoln-Way East and Lincoln-Way West recently received a K-12 Illinois Solar Schools Grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF). This grant is for $6,600 and covers most of the expense of a 1kW Solar PV solar panel system.

The new solar panels were recently installed on the roofs of each building, above the Warriors Lodge at Lincoln-Way West, and above the science classrooms at Lincoln-Way East.

“The solar panel is located on the roof of the Warriors Lodge with a nice view of the southern sky,” said Karla Horn, Science Teacher at Lincoln-Way West. “The southern sky is key in solar energy production because the sun is always to the south when in the Northern Hemisphere. Therefore we will have our strongest sun angle and most energy production with panels facing the south. Eastern and Western exposure are also a good second choice for panels, with Northern exposure being the least productive.”

The energy the solar panels are producing can be viewed in real-time online (https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/pv/public_systems/jxVU1816888/overview). This program provides an hour by hour breakdown of energy production and information for easy understanding of how much energy was produced each day. For example, on August 20, 2020 the solar panels produced 5.12 kWh of energy, enough to power one light bulb for 33 nights.

Teachers plan to implement information from the solar panels into their curriculum by using the data provided by the panels in the classroom and accessing enriching lessons to engage students and teach them about energy use, production, and the environment.

“Our Earth Science, Physical Science, and AP Environmental Science courses plan on using the data for our natural resources unit, energy unit, and weather unit,” said Maria Wilson, Science Department Chair at Lincoln-Way East. “Students will be able to see firsthand how radiant energy is transformed into electrical energy, the variables that affect electricity production, and the importance of renewable resources. These solar panels create enough energy to light one of our science lab rooms.”

The solar panels are hooked up to the ComEd electrical grid that services electricity to the surrounding community.

“Our solar panel system at West isn't designed to power all of Lincoln-Way West,” said Horn. “But it is neat to know that we are powering a small part. We like to think that the electrical energy being used in the Warriors Lodge each day is being produced by the panels on the roof just above it!”

Both Lincoln-Way East and West plan to participate in a SOLARbration this fall.

Lincoln-Way Central received an ICECF grant in 2018 to install solar panels.

More information on the K-12 Solar School program and the ICECF can be found on their website. https://www.illinoiscleanenergy.org/energy-program/k-12-solar-schools