by Morinville News Staff

The province announced Wednesday that the government is making funding available for the installation of solar panels at 36 school projects now in the planning or design phase that have not yet gone to tender. This includes the Greater St. Albert Catholic School Division’s K-5 and Sturgeon School Division’s 5-9 projects.

“We have heard directly from students from across Alberta, and their message is clear – they want us to be leaders on climate change said Minister of Education David Eggen. “A number of school boards had already been asking about the possibility of installing these panels, and we are pleased to be able to partner with them to invest in our public infrastructure.”

The government says it is planning total investment in the solar panel installations to be at least $9 million and will discuss things further with school boards.

The province says is will also provide funds to allow schools with solar panel systems to add an educational component to the installation. This could include letting students use an app to follow power generated by solar and to highlight the potential for solar power in reducing greenhouse gasses.

Though the government says they are committed to funding solar panels on the projects, doing so is a voluntary initiative. Alberta Education will be contacting school authorities to discuss modifying the scope of their projects to incorporate the panels.

John Gorman, President, and CEO, Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA), supports the initiative.

“There is no location better than on the roofs of our schools in the centre of our communities for local solar electricity generation,” he said. “The energy does not travel far before it meets an energy need, making our electricity system more efficient.”

Alberta Education will contact school authorities about modifying the scope of their projects to include the solar panels.

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