To celebrate Earth Day 2021, Winfield School’s Country View Elementary along with Sumner-Cowley Electric kicked off the construction of the school’s new Max Sunshine Project solar initiative.
The Winfield School District elementary school project is named in memory of Max Henderson, a second-grade student who died in 2019 after a horseback riding accident.
Decent Energy, Inc., in partnership with RREAL and PlaNet Productions, Inc., will use a $50,000 award from the Department of Energy’s Solar in Your Community Challenge to underwrite costs of the solar project’s innovative construction material, which contains integrated photovoltaic cells for solar collection on Country View’s Agricultural Classroom Barn.
The public-private partnership will offset approximately 25 percent of both the electric consumption and expense incurred by the school. Additionally, it will produce long-term benefits stemming from the installation of a new roof on the Agricultural Classroom Barn.
The Max Sunshine Solar Project is designed to include 96 units of UL-listed steel solar roofing product, each with a rated capacity of 270 watts, for an aggregate power system capacity of 26 kilowatts.
In support of this rural community project, Sumner-Cowley Electric is donating additional funds and services to connect the solar power project into their distribution system which serves the school.
The project also will honor Max’s life with informative signage and an educational Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)-based curriculum focused on technology and engineering. The curriculum will target 3rd-grade students, with elements that can be adapted and expanded for other grade levels.
This technology will help students learn about the system’s power generation capabilities in real time, as well as aspects of evolving technology.
When completed, the new solar system will encompass the entire roof of the barn and will generate about 25% of the total electricity the school consumes each year.
The April 22 Earth Day event also will included students planting trees and bottle feeding very young calves.