Roland Park Country School highlights its partial conversion to solar energy

In an effort to "shine a light on solar energy," Roland Park Country School staged a "Solarbration" on April 22 to pay tribute to Earth Day and the school's own stewardship of the environment.

"We celebrated our partial conversion to solar energy and the importance of renewable energy in protecting our own health and the health of all living things," school spokeswoman Nancy Mugele said.

For more than a decade, Roland Park Country School has been looking for ways to increase and improve environmental sustainability, Mugele said. The school became a Maryland Green School in 2003, and a member of the Green Schools Alliance in 2008 at the Climate Steward Level.

Since then, Roland Park Country has lowered its total greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent as it works to reduce its carbon footprint, Mugele said.

During the 2010-2011 school year, students researched and developed a proposal for a solar photovoltaic array, working with teacher Martha Barss. The school has now installed a 35.88 kilowatt photovoltaic solar array of 156 panels on the roof of the lower school, a project funded with a grant from the Lockhart Vaughan Foundation. The array is expected to generate about 1 percent of the school's electricity in its first year and offset almost 45,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, Mugele said.

Larry Perl

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