Solar Power Plant
After three years of planning, in the Spring of 2011, Boston School Forest's proposed solar project became a reality. The initiative was the brainchild of Karen Dostal, BSF's Environmental Education Coordinator. The system boasts a 20Kw photovoltaic array along the south side of the School Forest property. The solar panels are grid-tied, feeding back excess power to the utility grid when more power is being produced than used. Funds for the project were provided by two incentives through Focus on Energy and Wisconsin Public Service Corp, timber sale revenue and generous community donations most noteably by Steve Bogaczyk, the Mary Thurmeier Family, Aldo Leopold Audubon Society, Delta Dental, Portage County Master Gardeners and Twelve Apostles Musky Club.
The solar project impacts all of the elementary and secondary students who come to the school forest each year. Staff educate students about photovoltaic energy production systems. Students also learn why eliminating or preventing carbon from entering the atmosphere is important for life on Earth. The new science curriculum specifies that 4th and 5th graders learn about energy. Special emphasis is given to learning about the P.V. system at those levels when the students attend programs at the forest. Our staff has created a solar unit for grades 5-8 on solar energy which is available for classroom use. Secondary students can access the electrical production data and weather data through the link below.
By exposing our students to working alternative energy systems, students gain an understanding of the importance of alternative energy production and are introduced to careers in the field of alternative energy, system design and production, thereby providing the labor needed to fulfill Wisconsin's goal of restoring leadership in conservation and renewable energy.
In addition to the educational aspects of this project, the system cuts energy costs at the Forest by about one-third annually.
Access our solar data HERE.