Our school’s 2013/14 electrical consumption was 638,804 kWh. This energy predominantly comes from coal; our province’s primary energy source. At Cochrane High, we understand and accept our role in affecting climate change. We are deeply committed to maintaining our quality of life for future generations as well as have a strong desire to bring about tangible change. With that in mind, we are scaling up our source of renewable energy at Cochrane High. We would like to install 144 – 350 W photovoltaic panels on the gymnasium roof. In doing so we will be incorporating low carbon technologies, congruent with the international community and Cochrane’s own Sustainability Plan. Our school is walking the talk in terms of directly reducing greenhouse gases and electrical costs. We are at the forefront of implementing an energy strategy that seeks to diversity and integrate all our energy resources in an innovative way.
With the additional 144 PV panels on the roof of the school, 9.3% of Cochrane High’s annual electrical consumption will come from renewable energy. This system has a rated capacity of 50.4 kW, generating an estimated total of 56, 200 kWh annually which is sufficient to service seven average Cochrane households. Economically, this project will save an estimated $2 299 per year with a 25 – 30 year lifespan.
Educationally, the Learn Alberta curricula for Science (biology, chemistry, and general science) as well as Social Studies in grades 7-12 states that as a part of their study students “become aware of the role of science in responding to social and cultural change and in meeting needs for a sustainable environment, economy and society”. What better way to learn about science and sustainability than to have a large-scale solar system at your fingertips?
Our students will have the opportunity to learn about solar technology with hands on activities as well as viewing of a public monitoring system which displays how much energy we are saving at any given time.
Socially, we align with local, provincial, and global goals to improve sustainability through the use of renewable energy.
Our project is congruent with pathways 3 and 4 of Cochrane’s Sustainability Plan which aim to promote the responsible and innovative use of energy in our community. We will be contributing to the town’s goal of deriving 30% of Cochrane’s energy from low-impact renewable sources as well as decreasing community greenhouse gas emissions by 30% (from 2009) by 2029.
We will be meeting all of the requirements in the Renewable Energy Framework (REF) Policy regarding solar energy.
Similarly, we will be a part of the goal stated in Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan to transition our province so that 30% of Alberta’s electricity will come from renewable sources such as wind, hydro and solar by 2030.
Finally, we will be supporting the government’s role in the Paris Agreement to help limit the increase in global average temperatures to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change.
Economically, with the additional 144 PV panels on the roof of the school, 9.3% of Cochrane High’s annual electrical consumption will come from renewable energy. This system has a rated capacity of 50.4 kW, generating an estimated total of 56, 200 kWh annually which is sufficient to service seven average Cochrane households. This project will save an estimated $2 299 per year with a 25 – 30 year lifespan. Furthermore, we are ensuring that our project is cradle-to-grave meaning that everything from installation to maintenance to decommissioning is accounted for. When this system reaches its end of life, GEEP, a Calgary company will recycle our solar e-waste.