Phone: (314) 843-0102
Fax: (314) 843-0508
flag image

Knost says solar panels at five schools are 'rich with curricular opportunities'

Solar panels to save district $130,000 over 20-year period

Kari Williams
Staff Reporter

The Mehlville School District unveiled its solar-panel project last week at Beasley Elementary School. The 25-kilowatt systems are comprised of 104 U.S.-made solar panels and are on the roofs of Hagemann Elementary, Bernard Middle, Oak-ville Senior High and the Witzel Alternative Academy, besides Beasley. Photo by Kari Williams. (click for larger version)
December 12, 2012 - Solar panels installed at five Mehlville schools are "rich with curricular opportunities," according to Superintendent Eric Knost, despite the decision to install the panels being financial, not curricular.

"We fully expect that many of our classrooms, K-12, all levels, will grab onto this information (from the solar panels) and pull it into the classroom," Knost said.

Mehlville officials unveiled the district's solar-panel project last week at Beasley Elementary School.

Using solar energy will save the district roughly $130,000 in energy costs over its 20-year lease with StraightUp Solar, a St. Louis-based solar-energy company.

Teachers at Hagemann Elementary, Bernard Middle, Oakville Senior High, Beasley and the Witzel Alternative Academy will have the opportunity to bring information to students through modules that were installed in each of the five buildings.

Josh Hill, a solar installer for StraightUp Solar, said the monitors show data in the following formats: the previous two weeks, month by month, the current day and environmental benefits.

"Another great part of this monitoring system is that students or any guests or visitors who want to can go online and interactively look at this data," Hill said. "They can see how much (energy) individual solar modules on the roof are producing and they can look at historical data (and) download that data into the classroom ..."

Eric Swillinger, StraightUp Solar's vice president of operations, said the monitors allow people to put their hands on the solar panels without going to the roof, where the panels are located.

"It allows for students of the Mehlville School District to start studying what it means when the sun's out, what it means to actually turn off and on a light switch," he said.

Knost said he visited a technical class at Oakville High School last week that was working with robotic cars powered by solar panels.

"(The students) could talk about the process and compare what they were doing with this robotic car with what was on the roof," he said. "So it's rich with curricular opportunities for, obviously, our science classes."

The district is prepared to support teachers professionally, according to Knost, "if there's some professional development that they would like to apply and to better pull the information into the classrooms."

Swillinger said working with Mehlville was "a great leap into teaching and educating students in the Mehlville School District."

"It was a great test, and I respect the Mehlville School District for taking this on when there aren't too many school districts in the area doing this ...," Swillinger said.

The solar panels at each school will prevent the consumption of 3.3 million pounds of coal and 6.6 million pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions over the course of the 20-year lease agreement.

The Board of Education approved the lease agreement with StraightUp Solar in a 6-0 vote in May. Board member Mark Stoner was absent from that meeting.

Tags: Mehlville School District News

  • Related Editorial
    Panthers set to tackle Pattonville Friday night
    Mehlville looks for first win after falling to Francis Howell
    Aug 24 2016
    The Mehlville High School varsity football team will tackle Pattonville at 7 p.m. Friday at home, 3200 Lemay Ferry Road....
    School News
    Mehlville students return to school
    Aug 24 2016
    To the delight of many parents, Mehlville School District students returned to school Aug. 17. Returning students enjoyed many back-to-school activities, including Nevaeh Brannum, above, who attends Bierbaum ...
    Impact News
    Local meeting guide 2016
    Jan 08 2014
    Impact News
    Mehlville officials look to improve block scheduling, not eliminate it
    Last of two parts: Team’s presentation draws over 60 residents, students
    Aug 24 2016
    Last of two parts: A committee of students, parents, teachers and administrators from Oakville and Mehlville high schools is set to consider changes to block scheduling, but Mehlville School District ...
    Impact News
    Council could soon eye final vote on apartment complex
    Citizen didn’t know O’Leary would be ‘Stenger’s lapdog’
    Aug 24 2016
    After a week on hold, an apartment complex that thousands of south county residents say will permanently change their quiet Concord neighborhood could be headed to a final vote by the County Council next ...
  • Fran Ann Engraving
Site Search

Type in your zip code and click "Go" to get your 7-day forecast.