Solar Power Shines on Three Campuses

Waltrip, Westside, and Wilson receive solar powered generators from City of Houston

April 17, 2012

It took a little bit of maneuvering, but Wilson Montessori School now has a solar-powered generator on its Montrose campus.

Wilson, along with Waltrip and Westside high schools, received the self-sustaining generators through a 30-year partnership with the City of Houston. The goal is to use them as teaching tools with students to enhance their instruction in engineering, science, and math classes.

"The City of Houston is proud to partner with HISD to help students learn about the power of solar energy," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said. "These generators will serve as more than just energy sources, they will also be used for information, exploration, and hopefully inspiration for our future."

The units generate 14 kilowatt-hours of electricity a day, which can power an average-sized home. Each unit consists of solar panels installed on top of an 8-foot-by-20-foot metal storage container that has been retrofitted with an office-like interior. At Wilson, the generators will be used as a science lab for students.

"We are working with the Engineering School at Rice University as well as several of our parents to create a curriculum that will allow each grade level to learn specific TEKS," said Wilson Principal Beth Bonnette. "I am truly amazed at our community and what the city has done for our school in order to make it more environmentally sound."



HISD's Energy and Sustainability Manager Gavin Dillingham is presented with a check from Green Mountain Energy Sun Club.

In addition to the generator, Wilson is receiving a solar array from Green Mountain Energy's Sun Club, a unique program where all Green Mountain residential customers can make monthly contributions to assist non-profit organizations with the installation of solar energy.

The array will assist Wilson in their participation in the Green School Challenge, a districtwide initiative designed to encourage schools to reduce energy and conserve water.

"Houston ISD is doing a tremendous job with their Green School Challenge," said Tony Napolollo, program manager for the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club. "They are committed to saving both energy and resources on their campuses, and Green Mountain is delighted to help Wilson Montessori further its green initiatives."