Mountain Parks Electric funds high school photovoltaic research project |

Mountain Parks Electric funds high school photovoltaic research project

At its January meeting, the Mountain Parks Electric, Inc. Board of Directors allocated $10,000 in funding and in-kind service to Granby’s Middle Park High School photovoltaic research project. According to Board President Stan Cazier, Mountain Parks found the educational and research focus of the project – slated to compare economic and environmental impacts of photovoltaic (PV) versus traditional fossil fuel generation – appealing. “Does a PV project make sense in the mountains of North Central Colorado? This project should answer that question while giving 400-plus high school students a real-world, hands-on energy industry experience,” Cazier said.

Spearheaded by Mountain Parks Science Department Chair Sam Crane, the PV array consists of nine 230-watt solar panels complete with tracking and monitoring systems. Guy Larson, a PV installer with Simply Efficient, predicts that the panels will produce 22 percent of their 2-kilowatt nameplate rating, based on an average of 5.4 hours of sunlight a day. According to Larson, the system should generate approximately 4,000 kilowatt-hours a year; that’s $372 worth of electricity at Mountain Parks’ current retail rate.

Groundbreaking was scheduled for Friday, Jan. 29. Mountain Parks students will assist during the construction phase and begin monitoring the PV array’s output upon completion – shortly before Easter.

Mountain Poarks joins funding partners Freeport-McMoran, a $5,000 grantor, and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., which awarded $10,000 to the project (via Toyota’s Tapestry Grant). During the last funding cycle, Mountain Parks was the only school in the state of Colorado that was awarded the Tapestry Grant. Simply Efficient is also contributing a five percent materials discount. Mountain Parks’ donation comes from its Educational Trust Fund, a financing mechanism comprised of unclaimed patronage capital that has been used to fund local driver’s education classes and teacher grants.

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