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Solar Schools

ben_thompson_arms-solarschoolsWe’ve got the power!

Did you know you can monitor Peralta’s power use from home? You and your kids can have fun “spying” on how much energy their school is using — and how much of that is coming through the 10′ x 10′ photovoltaic array by the bike racks.

Peralta was selected as a demonstration site for PG&E Solar Schools several years ago, and we’ve been partly solar powered since the panels were installed in fall 2008. This demonstration system generates about 10% of what we use. A wireless monitoring device connects the panels to the Internet, so we can all monitor how much power the system makes every day.

Click here for up-to-the-minute reports.

You can also see a graph showing power generated on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. This is real time data, updated every few minutes. You can also see:

  • Total lifetime kilowatt hours (upper right)
  • Lifetime electrical savings (lower left)
  • Carbon avoided (lower right)

Note that data is missing for the summer of 2009. The panels were still working during this period, but their output wasn’t recorded because the school was being rewired for high speed Internet.

We have this system thanks to the hard work of Peralta parent Ben Thompson, an energy conservation consultant, and Irene Yen, who wrote the grant application.

This project was important for me, says Ben, who primarily focuses on energy conservation. I don’t like to see too much of the education budget going into energy costs. The sun can provide us warmth and light, but we need teachers to educate the kids.”

If you or your children are looking for more information about energy, the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) offers learning materials for home and classroom use. The US Department of Energy also has more educational resources for kids.