Hunting Hills ready to unveil solar panels

  • Oct. 31, 2012 2:58 p.m.

For many years now Hunting Hills High School has been home to an Environment Club for students. The members of this club and the instructors who facilitate it aim to increase student and citizen awareness of environmental issues in an effort to reduce the school’s and community’s ecological footprint.

The Environment Club has always wanted to leave a legacy and have a big impact on the school for years to come. Over the past few years there were a few big projects that were considered, however, the Club decided to leave their mark by raising funds to install solar panels for the school.

Amy Metzger, 16, has been a member of the Environment Club at Hunting Hills for two years and she thinks that it is a great club because it helps raise awareness throughout the school and it is something that she really believes in.

“The solar panels going up are really exciting. It is very rewarding to see that our hard work has finally paid off,” said Metzger. “It’s going to have so many benefits for our school and for the community.”

During the 2011-2012 school year, the Hunting Hills High School Environment Club raised over $25,000 to install a 5.00 kW PV (photovoltaic) system on the southeast roof of the school.

The students managed to raise this amount by making presentations to businesses in Red Deer as well as by having concession sales at HHHS football games and holding bottle drives. The concession and the bottle drives brought in $4,000 over two years and the remaining $23,000 towards the panels came from community donations from businesses and families and from grants.

After experiencing such success, the Club plans to continue their fundraising activities in order to raise $45,000 to have the current system expanded to 7.05 kW.

It is estimated that a 7.05 kW system will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by the school by approximately 7.5 tonnes. That is the equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide produced by 1.4 cars in one year. Scientific evidence indicates that carbon dioxide is one of the main contributors to climate change and is responsible for the various climatic effects including the rapid melting of glaciers in the Rocky Mountains.

The system has been installed on the southeast roof of the school to provide a renewable source of electrical energy to supplement the school’s electrical needs. When the panels are functioning at full they will be able to produce enough energy to run 14% of the school’s classrooms.

“The project is important because it will not only reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by the school, but also raise awareness and educate the school body and community on issues such as climate change,” said Dean Johnston, instructor at Hunting Hills High School.

Learning about alternative energy is a part of the curriculum for students from Grades 9-12 at Hunting Hills. With these solar panels system in place teachers can use this project as an educational tool. They can also access up-to-the-minute information of the power energy coming off of the panel. The information also comes in ‘easy to understand’ figures such as saying that the energy will off-set so many cars.

In order to celebrate the installation of the system, the Environment Club will be holding an open house on Nov. 1 from 4:15 – 5 p.m. in the Humanities Cathedral at Hunting Hills High School. The open house will include a presentation by the Environment Club and the unveiling of a plaque recognizing the donors for the project. For more information contact Adam Milner at 403-342-6655.