Pasadena ISD Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis cuts the ribbon to officially launch solar energy operations at Sam Rayburn High School. Joining Dr. Lewis are Dr. Richard Haut, senior research scientist at the Houston Advanced Research Center; Ken Kramer, director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club; Lizabeth Price, research associate at HARC; Peter Mathey, CEO and president of Ignite Solar; Richard Long, senior project manager for Broaddus & Associates; and Alejandro Savransky, the state field organizer for Environmental Texas.
Superintendent Lewis Calls Benefits of Solar Installations
at Sam Rayburn, South Houston Campuses 'Immeasureable'
By Britta Gamino
Pasadena ISD Communications Office
Clear, sunlit skies provided the ideal stage for scientists, engineers and environmentalists to team up with Pasadena ISD officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday to launch revolutionary solar energy projects at two district high schools.
Pasadena ISD Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis sliced through a blue "Solar Initiative" ribbon at Sam Rayburn High School before a reception crowd of more than 100 guests from the business, science and educational communities.
The ceremony provided an official start-up of solar energy projects at Sam Rayburn and also South Houston High School. Energy provided by the systems is expected save the district about $15,000 in energy costs.
"America's strength in the 21st Century is going to be built on creativity and the innovation of the students who we graduate," Dr. Lewis said. "I cannot think of anything that will be more challenging and more relevant to our students than green technology."
Speakers at the ceremony also included Dr. Richard Haut, senior research scientist at Houston Advanced Research Center; Peter Mathey, CEO and president of Ignite Solar; Ken Kramer of the Texas Chapter of the Sierra Club; and Alejandro Savransky, the state field organizer of Environment Texas.
The initiative represents the largest solar rooftop project in any Texas public school system. The solar installations are designed to produce 145 kilowatts of energy.
Obtaining a cheaper and cleaner source of energy isn't the only goal of the project. Pasadena ISD administration and staff are incorporating the solar technology into the district science curriculum. Students will receive hands-on training that will enable them to better understand solar technology.
"To be able to offer them this kind of opportunity is immeasurable," Dr. Lewis said. "What we are creating in this district is a learning laboratory that I think is the beginning of what I would like to see happen across the district."
Kramer emphasized the environmental benefits of the project.
"The completion of the solar power installation not only benefits the environment," Kramer said, "it also enhances our ability to educate our students in a way that teaches practical solutions to society's pressing problems."
The event concluded with guided tours of the kiosk, the inverter room and solar awning along the south side of the school. Members of the Sam Rayburn High School JROTC provided campus escorts for many of the guests.
"This project allows our students and community to learn about solar energy and how it can be used to sustain our fragile environment," said Grace Blasingame, the science content specialist at Sam Rayburn who has served as the school's point person on the project.
Dr. Haut said plans are in the works for two more solar projects at Pasadena ISD facilities.
"What a vision and what an opportunity that starts right here," Dr. Haut said.
An array of science, business and enviromental leaders descended on Sam Rayburn High on Tuesday: Speakers included (clockwise from top left) Dr. Richard Haut, senior research scientist for the Houston Advanced Research Center; Peter Mathey, CEO and president of Ignite Solar; Alejandro Savransky of Environmental Texas and Ken Kramer of the Texas Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Grace Blasingame, science content teacher at Sam Rayburn, explains a project display to juniors Wyatt Long and Brian Robles, students in an environmental science class at Rayburn.
Rodney Richardson, a project manager for American Electronic Technologies, Inc., outlines technical aspects of the solar project for campus guests at an informational kiosk.
Jarrell Perrin, a project manager for Tecta Solar and CEI Roofing, points out the features of the solar awning system for campus guests.
Berny Wilson (right), project foreman for American Electronic Technologies, Inc., serves as tour guide in the inverter room for Sam Rayburn teacher Pete Lococo.
LINK FOR SAM RAYBURN HS SOLAR MONITORING