Alder Creek Middle School students going solar |

Alder Creek Middle School students going solar

Sue Mock will soon be lighting up Alder Creek Middle School with a $10,000 grant she received from British Petroleum.According to Mock, who teaches sixth-grade math, earth science, and ecology at Alder Creek, the money from BP’s A+ for Energy program will be used to enhance the energy efficient features already in place at the school and to teach students and the public about alternative energy sources. The grant will be used to purchase a solar tracking system, which has 10 solar panels mounted on pole that absorb energy from the sun, Mock said. The device will feed supplemental solar energy into the school’s existing electrical system. “Initially the one pole system is really small, as far as looking at the whole electric bill, but we are going to purchase a computer program that students can use to monitor the data and see how much energy is being created,” she said. That data, Mock said, will be used by students to assess fiscal savings, determine the amount of power that is being produced, and educate the community about alternative energy. In all, the program will cost $5,000 more than what Mock was granted. The Truckee Donner Public Utility District and East West Properties have donated the majority of the remainder. To raise the rest, the utility district is including an informational flyer in customer statements this month to encourage donations.Now in its second year, BP’s A+ for Energy program awards K-12 educators for innovative extracurricular or summer activities focused on energy education and conservation. To date, more than $4 million in grant money has been given to California teachers. Mock said she had been developing her solar energy idea for years, but didn’t know how to go about getting funding. When she saw an ad for the program on television she jumped on the opportunity. As a winner, she was invited to attend an award ceremony in Los Angeles and a conference hosted by the National Energy Education Development Project. Next on Mock’s long-term list of action items: Continuing her recycling program at Alder Creek, raising funds for two more solar poles, and installing a solar-powered water fountain.

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