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Educators know that solar energy systems are powerful teaching tools for school-aged children. Solar is a visible demonstration of science in service of sustainability. This is why the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and Portland Public Schools partnered to install a 10-kilowatt solar electric system on the rooftop of the Oliver P. Lent Elementary School music building.
On April 22, dozens of children, parents and educators gathered in the garden next to the music building to celebrate Earth Day and the power of the sun. Jesse Hunter, science teacher, garden educator and overall force for sustainability at Lent Elementary, welcomed the crowd and kicked off the festivities. A group of music students entertained the crowd with songs. Kyle Diesner, BPS, was on hand to present the school community with a commemorative plaque recognizing all the Solar Forward founders and donors.
Jeff Hamman, Energy Specialist at Portland Public Schools, told the crowd, “We know that this solar system combined with all the other great initiatives that are taking place here at Lent School will help provide unique learning opportunities and demonstrate to our students and the community our commitment to being both good citizens and environmental stewards.”
The Lent Elementary solar array is the second of three systems installed under Solar Forward, a pilot effort by BPS to test crowdsourcing for community-based renewable energy projects. The other two arrays are located at Portland Parks and Recreation’s Southwest Community Center and at Hacienda Community Development Corporation’s Ortiz Center.