The Ecology Center and its partners celebrate the winners of the My Solar School Contest, a Michigan-based K-12 school competition organized to inspire and support teams of students (grades 6-12), teachers and/or parents pursue solar electric installations at their school. 

Thank you to our Grand Prize sponsor Generation 180, the C.S. Mott Foundation and all our partners, solar mentors and the students and teachers who made this possible. And to our winners, we are here to help make these projects a reality - stay tuned for an exciting funding announcement from our partners in May!

 

Grand Prize Winner: West Bloomfield High School

Students: WBHS E.A.R.T.H Club (Environmentally Aware, Ready to Help), West Bloomfield, MI

Advisor: Josh Barclay 

West Bloomfield’s EARTH Club truly puts the “Student” in Student-Driven Solar! This team has put together a fantastic plan for a 100% Solar Powered Science Department at WBHS. Their commitment to detail, school community engagement, and innovative fundraising strategies set their submission apart. The team has documented their steps and strategies in order to share their process with other student-led groups across the state. Check them out at wbhsEARTH.org!

 

Runner-Up: Ann Arbor STEAM at Northside 

Students: Eco Innovations at A2 STEAM, Ann Arbor, MI

Advisor: Jean Wilson

Solar Mentor: Dave Konkle, Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association 

Team Mascot: (Dr.) Felix Wilson

The student team at A2 STEAM wanted to find solutions to reduce carbon emissions and save fossil fuels. Their thorough investigation and analysis into solar PV generation has led to the development of a community-based team that meets regularly to discuss solar solutions with the students. The team hopes to be a model for other Ann Arbor schools and continues to take their initiative to the community, presenting to the City of Ann Arbor’s Energy Commission on the benefits of solar and even recently meeting with the Mayor!

 

Finalist: Gesu School 

Students: Gesu Solar Club, Detroit, MI

Advisor: Anita Sevier

Solar Mentor: Diane Cheklich, Strawberry Solar 

Solar School Contest from Bruce Harper on Vimeo.

The Solar Club at Gesu School saw an opportunity when the club was informed that their historic school building needed some electrical updates and improvements. After exploring the benefits of renewable energy, the Solar Club proposed a 20kW solar array that would help reduce fossil-fuel based pollution, a leading cause of asthma. Detroiters (and many Michigan students) are disproportionately affected by asthma. Furthermore, the team proposed an investment in a rooftop solar array that would reduce energy expenditures and return more money to the classroom over the useful life of the solar equipment.

 

Finalist: Glen Lake Community School 

Students: Glen Lake Envirothon Team, The "Eh" Team, Maple City, MI

Advisor: Karen Richard

Solar Mentor: Tom Gallery, Leelanau Solar

Representing the Leelanau Peninsula, the Glen Lake Envirothon team put together a long-term vision and short-term strategy to bring solar electric generation to their school community. Focusing on the educational and environmental benefits, the Envirothon team proposed a 24-panel solar PV array that would promote environmental stewardship by encouraging students to participate in adjusting the tilt of the array to maximize the impact and analyzing data gathered from the system. 

 

Finalist: West Side Academy of IT and Cyber Security

Students: WSA Green Panthers, Detroit, MI

Advisor: Arzell Jones, Tamyra Rhodes-O'Neil

Solar Mentor(s): Brittany Weinstein and Tyeisha Hodges, Youth Energy Squad (EcoWorks)

The students at WSA designed and developed a unique, sustainable outdoor classroom solution to repurpose a site on their school grounds. The team analyzed the electrical loads of the new structure and proposed to meet the needs of the space through installation of solar PV equipment. Their proposal aims to reinforce the goals of the school through the use of an experiential learning project using emerging sustainable technologies.