Early in 2015 a subcommittee of the Sustainability Committee was inspired by Team up for Turf. What if we privately raised funds to install solar panels for the School District? We met with Dr. Richard Noonan, Superintendent of Schools at the time, Godshaw Kane, the architect for the school district, and Jim Hardy, Supervisor of School District Operations, and Representatives from Open Sky, the Solar Energy Systems company based in Swarthmore, to discuss the possibility and find the best location. The snack bar stood out as the best option for it's high visibility, ability to be separately metered, and opportunity for an educational component. Everyone was excited about going forward with the project. We were looking forward to presenting the proposal to the school board in September of 2015, but with the controversy over the Summit School site and complications of searching for a new superintendent, we decided to put it on hold. Our interim Superintendent for the 2015-2016 year, Dr. Michael Pladus, was enthusiastic about the idea and had positive experiences with the installation of solar panels at previous schools. Members of Green Haven, our High School's Conservation/Environmental Club, came up with the name "Panthers for Panels," and we made a presentation to the School Board in February of 2016. Dr Palmer and other members of the School Board also supported the idea and we received a letter of support from the Board in March of last year.
Here are the details:
Here's how to donate:Our goal is to raise $30,000 through small, medium, and large fundraisers, grants and donations in time to install 23 solar panels and an educational component on the Panther Pit snack bar in time for the 2017 football season. No district funds will be used, and the School Board, Superintendent, and Supervisor of Operations will have final approval over the project. The solar panels will generate electricity, and feed power back into the grid; this should reduce our annual school district utility bills. We believe we will reap these benefits even when the snack bar is not in use. One of the goals of the educational component is to demonstrate, and keep a running tab of how much energy has been generated, and approximately how much money is being saved. The 23 panels are expected to generate about 7,400 kilowatts hours of power per year, which is about what an average Pennsylvania household would use. According to the Solar Energy Society, more than 500 K-12 schools have installed solar panels in 43 states.
The Foundation for Wallingford Swarthmore Schools is acting as a fiduciary - so if you want to write a check, make it out to the Foundation for Wallingford Swarthmore Schools, and put Panthers for Panels on the memo line. Or you can donate to the Panthers for Panels gofundme website which went live on April 22 in 2016 in celebration of Earth Day. If you go to https://www.gofundme.com/g9rbvdjg donations are transferred to the Foundation on a weekly basis.