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NAIT helps Edmonton school children learn about green energy production

Published on January 28, 2016

Staff and students design and install solar array on roof of Hillview School; project funded by City of Edmonton

NAIT students and staff have designed and installed a solar photovoltaic (PV) array on the roof of Hillview School to help children learn about alternative energy production. Energy captured by the solar modules helps power the elementary school.

The project is a collaborative effort between NAIT’s Alternative Energy Technology program, Hillview School, Edmonton Public Schools and the City of Edmonton. It was funded through a $26,000 EcoCity Edmonton community sustainability grant, piloted in 2014 as the Neighbourhood Action Program. The funding covered the cost of the equipment and curriculum design.

Real-time data from the array – including up to the minute information on how much energy is being produced – is available to students and the general public.

NAIT and the City of Edmonton have previously collaborated on an applied research project to evaluate the potential of the sun to produce green energy in Edmonton, one of Canada’s sunniest cities. The research is focused on the effect of snow accumulation on solar production in Edmonton. NAIT has a similar applied research project underway in Grande Prairie.

Quick Facts

  • Students and staff in NAIT’s Alternative Energy Technology began designing the recently installed system in 2014.
  • The 3 kW array – which consists of 12 solar modules ¬– is capable of producing four MWh a year, or enough energy to meet 60% of an average Alberta homeowner’s electricity needs.
  • Natural Resources Canada has ranked Canadian municipalities on their yearly potential for producing solar energy. Edmonton is ahead of Canadian cities like Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto and international locations like Beijing, China and Washington, D.C.

Quotes

Dr. Jim Sandercock, Chair, Alternative Energy Technology program
“This applied research project provided our students with a valuable opportunity to gain real-world experience while making a meaningful contribution to the community. Under the supervision of NAIT staff, they took this from a concept to reality. We were happy to work with our partners on this project.”

Duncan McColl, Principal, Hillview Elementary School​
“This array is an important tool in teaching our students about conservation. They will see how the solar panels are helping to offset the school’s consumption of energy. We’re excited to be contributing in a positive way to reducing our environmental footprint.”

Mark Brostrom, Environmental Director of City Environmental Strategies, City of Edmonton
“The City is proud to be a part of this project. The grant program was set up to get Edmontonians motivated and excited to tackle environmental issues. Not only do solar panels promote renewable energy solutions and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they also present an opportunity for elementary school students to learn about alternative energy production and our City's Energy Transition Strategy.”

Learn More

NAIT Alternative Energy Technology program

About NAIT

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With nearly 60,000 credit and non-credit students and a 95 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta’s prosperity. Known for hands-on, technology-based learning, NAIT engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. Recognized as one of Alberta’s top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.