Hawaii Pacific Solar encourages students to get creative with renewable energy
Hawaii Pacific Solar (HPS), a Maui-based solar PV design and installation company, has awarded two education grants totaling $2,718 for renewable energy -related projects at Hokulani Elementary School and King William C. Lunalilo Elementary School, both Kaimuki Complex schools.
Hokulani Elementary School received the entire amount requested, $1,402.15, to explore the application of PV systems and their use in powering LEGO® robotic projects at the school. Teachers Marcus Pottenger, Naomi Oshiro and Laurie Yoshinaga submitted the grant with Hokulani’s principal, Holly Kiyonaga.
King William C. Lunalilo Elementary School received $1,316.60 to participate statewide with the Hokulea and Hikianalia in the first science project on hydroponics. Lunalilo has focused on sustainability for the past three years and was adopted by the Hokulea as it travels on its three-year worldwide voyage. Principal Amy Kantrowitz submitted the proposal.
“This grant has gotten the teachers thinking— and excited about ways they can change their curriculum and teaching practices to involve more science, engineering design, interdisciplinary real life connections, critical thinking and sustainability,” said Charlotte Unni, school renewal specialist for Kaimuki McKinley Roosevelt Complexes, last year before she retired.
“HPS wants to help teachers use the PV system for education in science, math, environment and conservation, social studies health and many other applications,” said Bob Johnston, president and CEO of HPS. “We were very excited about the quality of grant applications we received and the opportunity to see these projects developed by these Kaimuki Complex teachers and students.”
“The goal of the grants,” added Johnston, “is to help students understand the relevance of solar energy and sustainability in their lives.”
This first cycle of grants, for the fourth quarter 2013-2014 school year, was available to the Aiea School Complex. A $500 grant was awarded to Aiea Elementary School to build a solar oven out of recycled products using renewable energy. This STEM project used the engineering design process and science concepts to help students understand the potential of solar energy in a relevant application.
A second grant, $2,250, went to Aiea High School for an aquaponics project using the PV system installed by HPS.
HPS was awarded a Department of Education (DOE) contract to install solar panels at some Oahu and Kauai schools under a Power Purchase Agreement whereby the system is owned, operated and maintained by RC Energy of Denver Colorado. The installation is at no cost to DOE. Along with the installation of PV systems, HPS has also given each school lesson plan materials on solar energy, a sun safety program and a flat screen monitor that allows student to do real-time monitoring to the see the amount of power being generated and the amount of carbon reduction and energy savings.