Scientists, engineers, environmentalists and Pasadena ISD officials will gather at Sam Rayburn High on Tuesday to cut the ribbon on a futuristic solar energy sytem with a dual purpose - reducing conventional energy use and educating students about alternative energy sources.
Solar systems have been completed at both Sam Rayburn and South Houston High. The systems are expected to reap a combined savings in energy costs to the district of about $15,000 annually.
The systems are designed to produce about 145 kilowatts of energy. The project is managed by the Houston Advanced Research Center in a partnership with Ignite Solar, LLC, and the school district.
The ribbon-cutting is set for 10 a.m.
Speakers will include Dr. Richard Haut, Senior Research Scientist at HARC; Dr. Kirk Lewis, PISD Superintendent; and Peter Mathey, CEO and President of Ignite Solar. Guest speakers from the funding organizations include Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas; and Ken Kramer, Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Guests will be invited to view a short solar project highlights video and visit information booths about the technologies, education and outreach, project partners and sponsors. The event will conclude with tours of the solar awning, inverter room and education kiosk.
"We are excited to be part of this multi-faceted project and look forward to sharing all aspects with the community as we continue to develop educational and outreach activities," said Lizabeth Price, Research Associate at HARC and project manager for the installation.
HARC contracted with Ignite Solar, LLC, a Houston-based company that specializes in the design of commercial and large-scale solar photovoltaic projects, to provide the comprehensive turnkey solar system, and with Broaddus & Associates to provide construction-site management services.
Ignite Solar subcontracted with Houston-based American Electric Technologies, Inc. for power distribution, converter systems and coordination, and implementation of the web-based interaction for students, as well as Tecta Solar and CEI Roofing for the solar module and racking installation.
Pasadena ISD administration and staff are incorporating the solar technology education into their curriculum.
"The knowledge and skills students will gain through these experiences will lead to more career pathways and provide more advanced learning opportunities," Dr. Lewis said. "These lessons will help them succeed in today's global society."
"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, science content specialist at Sam Rayburn.
"Our students will perform real-world experiments with the data that we collect from the solar arrays. I know of no other district that is providing this type of experience."