Lexington High Solar Challenge

(Lexington Minuteman – January 11, 2006)

The Lexington community has an exciting opportunity to qualify for a free solar panel installation on Lexington High School!

If 150 Lexington families make a tax deductible contribution to the New England Wind Fund, (a program of the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance) by March 31, 2007, the Commonwealth’s Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) will provide and install a 2 KW (kilowatt), $22,000 photo voltaic panel on the high school at no charge to the Town. Mass Energy, in cooperation with MTC, is making this challenge available to communities across the Commonwealth. Lexington’s Global Warming Action Coalition has taken on the challenge locally, and will be publicizing this campaign throughout our community in the coming months.

To qualify for the free solar panel, 150 Lexington families must contribute to the New England Wind Fund in one of two ways: either a twelve month pledge of $5 or greater per month or a $100 or greater one time donation. The deadline is March 31, 2007. Pledges may be made by going to the GWAC web site (www.lexgwac.org) and clicking on the LHS Challenge button, or by phoning the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance directly at 617-524-3950. All contributions are 100% tax deductible. Contributions that exceed the goal of 150 families will be applied toward future renewable energy projects for Lexington.

The installation of this state of the art, renewable energy technology will provide a valuable educational tool for LHS students. In addition to generating a modest amount of clean renewable energy for the school, it will provide a real time learning tool for use by faculty and students, and will reinforce the new curriculum unit on global warming introduced to this year’s ninth grade Earth Science classes.  Students used the Lexington GWAC web site this fall to perform an energy audit of their household’s heating and electricity use, and travel. After calculating their family's carbon footprint they then researched ways to reduce it.

With solar panels on the high school students will gain practical knowledge of the realities of generating power from the sun in New England. How much power can be generated over the entire roof area of the high school?  What proportion of the school's power needs would this supply?  How many homes could be powered?  How does the cost of solar power compare to conventional power sources? These are but a sampling of the types of real world questions that it will be possible to explore in future curriculum offerings utilizing data captured from this installation.

Of equal if not greater importance, Mass Energy will use donations to the New England Wind Fund to develop much needed wind power generation in New England in order to reduce our dependence on greenhouse gas producing fossil fuels that benefit from huge subsidies and tax breaks. Wind power, while more expensive to produce without the subsidies enjoyed by fossil fuels, is both non-polluting and 100% renewable.

Mass Energy, a non-profit organization with over twenty years of experience in the Massachusetts energy market place, is dedicated to making energy both affordable and sustainable. It is Massachusetts’ leading supplier of renewable energy to residential and small business customers. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Mass Energy’s partner in this endeavor, is the Commonwealth’s development agency for renewable energy and the innovation economy, and is dedicated to advancing technology-based solutions that lead to economic growth and a cleaner environment in Massachusetts.

Support the LHS Solar Panel Challenge! Send a message with your dollars that will directly contribute to developing the renewable energy that our community and the New England region as a whole will need to ensure a healthy and economically vibrant future for our children. Do it today!

Brought to you by Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition. Check our website www.lexgwac.org for upcoming talks and our film series. For a brochure on The Lexington Challenge and our handy 20 Easy Steps to Take guide, email info @lexgwac.org