Suffolk high school unveil solar panels – WVEC

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It’s all part of a partnership between Dominion Energy and the National Energy Education Development project.

SUFFOLK, Va. — A group of Suffolk students got a look at Kings Fork High School’s new solar panel as part of Dominion Energy’s ‘Solar for Kids’ program.

It’s all part of a partnership between Dominion Energy and the National Energy Education Development project.

Senior Matthew Smith says having the new panels gives students the opportunity to get hands-on experience.

“It makes me feel a lot better about how we’re using our energy, showing that we’re trying to be cleaner for the environment and safer for the environment,” he said Tuesday morning.

Each solar array turns sunlight into electric power—enough to do things like power 18 desktop computers or charge more than 100 cell phones. Something the students can see in real-time via the website.

More than 40 schools are already in the program and Kings Fork High School principal Derrick Bryant said they’re excited to be the latest addition.

RELATED: Solar for Students: Abingdon Elementary in Gloucester County gets solar powered

“The opportunities are limitless for our kids. The opportunity for them to go into the classroom and teachers be able to teach across the curriculum using these solar panels is going to be awesome for our kids,” he said.

The installation comes as Virginia sees a big push towards renewable energy.

Last week, the Virginia Department of Energy received $156 million in federal funding for their ‘Solar for All’ program. Funding will be available for the next five years, starting in 2025 for Virginians interested in residential rooftop or shared solar programs. Around 50% of households qualify.

Tim Eberly with Dominion Energy says installing these panels in schools helps the next generation get involved.

“We don’t know if there’s future engineers, future solar energy techs in the crowd, future Dominion Energy project managers, but this is our opportunity to teach kids about solar energy,” he said. “And about the value of renewable energy.”

Eberly said renewable energy is a top priority for the company right now, with these installations and their offshore wind project. He said their goal is to be emissions-free by 2050.

“It’s gonna take a massive effort to do that, but we’re on the right track,” he said.

Bryant said to keep the momentum going at Kings Fork, they hope to install a greenhouse on campus.

“We’re gonna talk about putting WIFI on that greenhouse, hooking up weather stations to that greenhouse, so the possibilities are a bunch,” he said.

Smith said he’s excited to see the solar panel project expand as well.

“I hope we can see it go to all the schools in Virginia,” he said. “It’s a renewable and infinite energy source, so today we educated everybody about why it’s better for our environment and we got a new solar panel for our schools to further that education for the environment.”

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