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Utah's Solar for Schools Contract

December 13, 2010
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MILWAUKEE - Johnson Controls completed a solar installation at Salt Lake City School District’s Hillside Middle School, the first of many schools participating in Utah State Energy Program’s new Solar for Schools program. Solar for Schools is a statewide energy education initiative created to help Utah students learn the value of renewable energy technology firsthand.

The Utah State Energy Program selected Johnson Controls to oversee the design and installation of 73 solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays at schools throughout the state, with at least one array in each of the state’s 41 districts. Johnson Controls will install 5 kW PV systems as a part of the Solar for Schools program. The program is funded by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

“Solar technology is one of the best sources of renewable energy in Utah and is at the forefront of the national energy mix. With Solar for Schools, the state will be able to produce clean energy while providing students with the opportunity to learn about these technologies,” said Elise Brown, renewable energy coordinator, Utah State Energy Program. “The program is an investment in energy education, in the community, and in securing our energy independence.”

Solar for Schools provides the scholastic resources for Utah students to learn about renewable energy technologies through interactive projects. Students will have the ability to track live data from the solar installations, compare the data across schools throughout the state, and measure the effects of temperature and location of the energy output. The program also includes a comprehensive K-12 curriculum and teacher training on the benefits of using energy generated by the sun.

“As energy efficiency continues to be a critical issue around the globe, it’s vital to bridge the gap between renewable energy technology and student energy education,” said Bruno Biasiotta, vice president and general manager, Energy Solutions Americas, Johnson Controls. “This program provides Utah students with the knowledge and benefits that clean energy can have both now and well into the future.”

The total installation of the 73 arrays is expected to remove more than 8,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over 20 years, equivalent to the carbon offset that would be generated by planting 11,000 trees and letting them grow for 10 years.

The National Energy Foundation (NEF) will provide the renewable energy curriculum training for 200 teachers in Utah. Training workshops will include hands-on demonstrations appropriate for teaching all grade levels. The curriculum highlights solar, wind and geothermal technologies and can be integrated with science, technology, social studies, math and language arts lessons for K-12 students. Additional educational resources are provided through NEF’s Renewable Energy Academy website, www.academyofenergy.org.

“Providing our future energy leaders with the resources and educational opportunities to drive environmental stewardship is at the heart of this program,” said Bob Poulson, president, NEF. “The knowledge these students will gain as a result of Solar for Schools will have a positive, lasting impact for the local and global community.”

Publication date: 12/13/2010

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