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Three Lakes Schools Get Solar Panels

Hands-on science learning took a big step forward Tuesday at the Three Lakes School District. The school now has solar panels on its roof thanks to the Solarwise for Schools program sponsored by Wisconsin Public Service.

As part of the Solarwise for Schools program, every school receives 10 solar panels that provide 2.8 kilowatts of electricity. That’s roughly the number of solar panels that could power an average home. Here, that renewable energy will be keeping the hall lights on for the junior high. WPS says the solar panels save a school about $350 a year in energy costs.

Michael Moore is the manager for the Solarwise for Schools program at Wisconsin Public Service.

“We want to educate the students and the community about renewable energy, its challenges and its opportunities. It sounds like a great idea, but it’s really hard to make it pay, and I’m thinking one of these kids some day is going to have the key. They’re going to be the ones to figure it out.”

Three Lakes also received a hands-on, 31-lesson curriculum for its classrooms and teacher training to go with it. The new solar panels allow students and teachers to track how much energy is produce each day, even on rainy days like yesterday—and yes, solar panels do still produce energy on cloudy days. Ryan Bock is the teacher who headed the application to Solarwise for Schools.

“We’re at a time where we need to educate our students about renewable energy sources, and to have one right here at school increases the relevancy and so the students can touch it and feel it and understand how it works better so that they can be leaders and innovators once they graduate high school.”

And that is the ultimate goal: getting today’s students excited about science, so that they can create tomorrow’s new energy sustainable ideas.

Three Lakes is the 53rd school to join a family that also includes Rhinelander, Lakeland Union, Crandon, and Antigo.

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