MONCKS CORNER, S.C. — Berkeley Electric Cooperative, Santee Cooper and the Charleston County School District dedicated today a Green Power Solar School at Haut Gap Middle School. The school has been equipped with a solar cell array, which is already producing electricity from the sun's rays, providing students with a firsthand look at the opportunities and challenges of solar power.
Haut Gap Middle is the first school in Charleston County to be a Green Power Solar School. Students, educators and utility representatives gathered around the pole-mounted solar array to officially commemorate it.
"While our main goal at Berkeley Electric Cooperative is to provide affordable power to our members, we want to do it in a way that also safeguards the environment," said Dwayne Cartwright, CEO and president of Berkeley Electric Cooperative. "That is why we are strong supporters of the Solar Schools program, which will provide the students of Haut Gap with a great educational opportunity to learn about renewable power. This program will provide the students with a hands-on learning experience that will teach them about solar energy and how to use energy wisely."
"Practical renewable energy and energy efficiency play important roles as we work to meet the future electricity needs in our state," said Jim Brogdon, Santee Cooper's executive vice president and general counsel. "With programs like Green Power Solar Schools, we can challenge tomorrow's leaders to think critically about these energy sources and how they might benefit future generations."
Santee Cooper and the state's electric cooperatives have partnered to install Green Power Solar Schools in 28 electric cooperative territories across South Carolina. The initiative is designed to encourage interest in the environment and demonstrate the feasibility and limitations of renewable power generation. Each Green Power Solar School receives a 2-kilowatt solar power system, which will provide a teaching and research opportunity for students. The project uses a new renewable energy curriculum designed especially for the program that meets state science standards. Each school program is supplemented by an Internet-based monitoring system that provides real-time access to information on the system's performance as well as other solar schools in South Carolina.
"This is an exciting learning opportunity for our students. On behalf of Charleston Schools and Haut Gap Middle School faculty and staff, we commend Berkeley Electric Co-op and Santee Cooper for allowing our students the opportunity to learn about solar energy through inquiry-based instruction and research," said Dr. Nancy McGinley, superintendent of Charleston County School District. "With hands-on, practical learning, we're better preparing our students for the future."
Green Power Solar Schools represents one way that Santee Cooper and the state's electric cooperatives promote renewable energy. It helps fulfill Santee Cooper's commitment to reinvest Green Power funds back into renewable resources across South Carolina. Santee Cooper and the electric cooperatives began generating and distributing Green Power in 2001, and have steadily increased renewable generation in South Carolina since then, using South Carolina resources.