According to Swiss Psychologist, Jean Piaget, “The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover.” The prospect of helping students invent and discover makes the acceptance of two grants towards the installation of a school-based solar panel system at Bryant School so exciting.
Through the Montana Solar Community Project and the NorthWestern Energy Efficiency Plus (E+) Renewable Energy Program, the Helena Public Schools recently received two grants for $9,336 and $50,000 respectively to help fund a school-based solar system for the new Bryant Elementary School.
Throughout the process and once completed, the system becomes an invaluable tool for students, teachers, and community members, who will have access to energy production data in real time through the Fronius Solar web data monitoring platform – similar to the system in place at the Lewis & Clark Library.
Classroom teachers will be able to incorporate this data into experiential learning opportunities for students for lessons that include the science behind solar power and how thermal energy works. Additionally, STEM educators across the district, working in partnership with the district’s support team, already are making plans for integrating the data from the solar PV systems into their engineering concepts curriculum from kindergarten to high school.
District Superintendent, Dr. Tyler Ream expressed his appreciation of Helena resident and current member of the Montana State Board of Education, Madalyn Quinlan, who – working in partnership with the district’s Facilities Department and Bryant administration – was integral to the success of the grant applications.
This renewable generation project received funding through the NorthWestern Energy Efficiency Plus (E+) Renewable Energy Program. The program is established with Universal System Benefits Program funds collected from all NorthWestern electric customers in the State of Montana.