‘We need to be conservators of our environment:’ New solar panels installed at Frank Long Elementary School

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 5:28 PM EDT
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LIBERTY COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The Liberty County School System is going green! They’re taking another step toward using renewable energy in their schools.

Frank Long Elementary is now operating with newly-installed solar panels.

These new solar panels at Frank Long Elementary are expected to save the school district around $6,000 per year in energy costs.

It’s a renewable energy option that the school’s principal says, is fueling student innovation as well.

“Teachers will have lessons that come directly from the data that is pulled, that they’ll be able to incorporate directly into their science lessons,” said Principal Debra Sukaratana.

The 40-kilowatt solar panel system provides around 10% of the school’s energy usage.

They started building the panels in September, and they’ve been operational for about two weeks.

“It’s important because we need to be conservators of our environment, that’s an important life lesson that we’re teaching our children.”

School leaders say it also provides a backup energy source.

“If we had a hurricane or an outage where the refrigerators in the cafeteria went down, or the telephones in the office are down, this saves us. This keeps us from losing that important information.”

The $170,000 project was fully funded by a Georgia Environmental Finance Authority grant.

“We’re just thankful we were awarded this grant, because of all that they’re going to learn not just this year or the next year, but for many many years to come.”

Next up, the school will be using monitors in places like the cafeteria and the library for students to be able to track energy usage numbers in real time.