PASADENA, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), in partnership with the Pasadena Independent School District (PISD), today announced that construction is set to begin in June to install approximately 145 kilowatts (kW) of solar energy technologies at Sam Rayburn and South Houston High Schools. The installed systems are expected to save the district approximately $15,000 annually in energy usage.
The East Harris County Solar Energy Pilot Program, a two-year project managed by HARC, will demonstrate the viability and efficiency of solar electric systems used to produce electricity in the Houston area. In addition, students at the two high schools will gain real-world laboratory experience working alongside engineers and scientists, gaining first-hand knowledge about the function and benefits of alternative energy systems.
To launch the project, HARC and PISD are hosting a brief presentation and press conference at 10 a.m. today at Sam Rayburn High School located at 2121 Cherrybook Lane in Pasadena.
"This community outreach program is designed to determine whether the use of solar technology is a clean, efficient and sustainable energy source for the Houston area,” said Lizabeth Price, HARC research associate and program manager. “There are significant benefits to students participating in solar research laboratories at their campuses. The East Harris County Solar Pilot Program is perfectly aligned with HARC’s mission to move knowledge to action to improve human well-being and the environment.”
HARC has contracted with Ignite Solar, LLC, a Houston-based company that specializes in the design of commercial and large-scale solar photovoltaic projects, to provide a comprehensive turnkey solar system and Broaddus & Associates to provide construction-site management services.
Ignite Solar plans to use Houston-based American Electric Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AETI) for power distribution, converter systems and coordination and implementation of the Web-based interaction for students, and Solar Community for the solar installation.
“We have designed a comprehensive solar project that incorporates three innovative technologies into a dynamic, hands-on learning environment,” said Peter Mathey, president and CEO of Ignite Solar.
The Moser Baer multi-crystalline, Sharp thin-film, and Solyndra® cylindrical tube technologies that comprise the system expose students and the local community to technologies installed for the first time in this region. Kiosks and portable demonstration units at each campus will further strengthen the systems’ educational value. In addition to providing solar expertise, Ignite Solar and the project team have donated approximately $30,000 in materials and services to PISD.
PISD administration and staff have incorporated solar technology education into their curriculum. According to Dr. Kirk Lewis, PISD Superintendent: “The knowledge and skills students will gain through these experiences will lead to more career pathways and provide more advanced learning opportunities. These lessons will help them to succeed in today’s global society.”
Grace Blasingame, Sam Rayburn science department Chair who leads PISD in partnering with HARC, said, “I am very proud of our district for its pioneering spirit. This program will lead the way to generation and consumption of renewable energy in our area, and PISD students have the unique privilege of participating in a real-life application of how solar energy can lower our carbon footprint.”
Funding for the East Harris County Solar Pilot Program was made pursuant to the settlement of a Clean Air Act enforcement suit brought by Environment Texas and the Sierra Club.
The Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) is a 501(c)3 non-profit institution located in The Woodlands. Founded in 1983, HARC has a staff of about 45 professionals. Its founder, George P. Mitchell, has been a leading advocate of sustainable development, the philosophy that seeks balance between human well-being and the preservation of earth’s natural systems for the future.
With a growing enrollment of more than 52,000 students, Pasadena ISD is an exceptional district with 18 schools receiving exemplary ratings from the Texas Education Agency and 17 attaining recognized status for their performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test. Pasadena ISD staff members are given the resources and tools needed to educate our children through a variety of staff development training programs. Since the first classes began in 1898, Pasadena ISD’s vision has been to create an environment that fosters learning to prepare students for future success.
About Ignite Solar
Ignite Solar, LLC (Ignite Solar) develops medium- to large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects and manufactures tracking and fixed mounting systems. Ignite Solar is based in Houston and promotes PV educational outreach and sustainability through dynamic, technology forward projects and initiatives.
Note to Editors: For further information and high resolution photos of PISD students working with solar cells and the solar technologies discussed in this release, visit http://pisd.harc.edu/.