Members of Madison West High School Green Club recently introduced themselves to the City's Committee on the Environment. They were able to highlight their work on Project Solis. It's safe to say the message was met with enthusiasm.
The students had a goal to raise $50,000 for Project Solis, a solar panel project to be erected on the roof of West High School. If they met their goal, the School District would contribute another $25,000. Once completed, the students estimate that energy generated can provide energy for five homes, save $5,000 that would have been spent on energy and offset 40,000 pounds in carbon emissions. The students were delighted to report that they have raised $100,000!
This renewable energy project is the only effort, at this scale, led by high school students in the greater Madison area that addresses the need for increasing student awareness of environmental issues. Thus, the importance of this project is significant; were the school or district to install solar panels without the initiative being led by high school students, the impact of this project would be greatly mitigated: no sustainable, long-term increase in awareness of energy efficiency among students at Madison West High School would be made. With this project driven by students, however, the entire student and staff body will have the opportunity to recognize the existence of an organized, committed effort to improve the sustainability of Madison West High School, only furthering the materialization of other student-led projects with an aim towards promoting environmental awareness.
There is still work to be done. West High School's roof needs to be replaced before solar panels can be installed. School Board approval is needed, and construction plans need to be finalized. The students are hopeful though, that work can begin in 2019.
This project is one of several tackled by the Green Club. They are also working on a recycling project including E-waste drives, compost education and promoting mindful consumerism. The City of Madison and Madison Water Utility are proud partners with these students. If you want to learn more about the group, check out their website at westgreenclub.org.