Students in Thunder Bay, Ontario, will start training for the realities of the new solar economy at young ages, thanks to a new 50 kW solar photovoltaic installation that the city’s Catholic District School Board plans to build on the roof of Pope John Paul II Senior Elementary School (John Paul Elementary).
With the new solar project, John Paul Elementary will join a number of schools across the province that help to make the region and its economy greener by supplying renewable sources of energy to replace less environmentally-friendly methods of power generation such as gas and coal. The installations also offer students first-hand looks at green technology as they prepare for their future careers.
Ontario has a blossoming solar industry that is powered by a feed-in tariff (FIT) program that pays producers of photovoltaic, wind, and biomass energy high prices to feed their projects into the province’s electrical grid. The FIT has led to the creation of renewable energy, green careers, and new training opportunities in the province, which in turn help the region’s economy recover from the recent global recession.
Province Invests Heavily in Green Economy, Schools
Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board expects to save up to $70,000 each year on its utility bills by offsetting its hydro consumption with green energy it produces using the rooftop solar array at John Paul Elementary. It also stands to reduce its carbon footprint by as much as sixty-four tonnes annually. The Ontario government funded the $800,000 solar project as part of a plan to build more than 120 renewable energy installations at schools across the province. The $50 million plan helps the province to reduce its environmental impact while it prepares teachers, students, and the communities they serve for a future that depends less on fossil fuels and more on green alternatives.
A number of other schools in the province have solar systems installed or in the works at their facilities, including Bear Creek Secondary in Barrie and Fort Frances High School in the northern Ontario town of Fort Francis. These projects demonstrate that at Ontario’s learning institutions, today’s students train not only for their own careers, but also for the future of the province and of the planet.