The Wilson Beacon

Wilson installs solar panels as part of DCPS initiative

Solar World

Solar World

Zoe Friedman

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Last summer, Wilson installed 450 solar panels above the library and on the roof of the B and C wing. The solar panels installation is part of an effort by DCPS to become more environmentally friendly.

The energy from Wilson’s solar panels supplies the electric grid Wilson uses and reduces the need for carbon fuel. Solar panels were also supplied to all other DCPS schools and government agencies as part of a go-green district-wide initiative.

Recent efforts have deepened DCPS’ relationship with renewable energy. Clean energy appliances for different buildings in DC cumulatively produce 13,800 MWH of electricity each year, about 3.5% of the Department of General Services’ (DGS) annual electricity needs. Recent solar panels installations have boosted the city’s solar generation capacity by approximately 70 percent. In July, DGS entered a 20 year wind power purchase agreement which will serve 35 percent of the government’s total electricity needs.

Solar panels at Wilson came with one initial cost of around $350,000, and their only other expense is maintenance. “Wilson now has 70,000 additional feet of space and uses natural gas and solar panels for power. The energy bill is just about the same as it was when we used the power plant,”  said Director of the Hospitality and Tourism Academy Alex Wilson.

“The solar panel installation contributes to Wilson’s long history of being a green school,” said Wilson. In 2011, Wilson’s campus was renovated, modernized, and opened with a Gold LEED status (leadership in energy and environmental design). Wilson’s classrooms were built with a curved ceiling design, so they didn’t need as much lighting. Wilson’s gym also has glass panels which makes it so it can also be naturally lit.

In 2013, Wilson became a green ribbon school after it was deemed that it’s environmental and sustainability education was effective. As part of Wilson green initiatives, Wilson started a recycling team, began using eco friendly cleaning liquids and supplies, and switched to using natural gases as a main source of power rather than coal and oil. One year, Wilson raised 10 tons of compost.

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Wilson installs solar panels as part of DCPS initiative