NCSSM is one of 9 NC schools to receive a 5kW array as part of NC GreenPower's Solar Schools Pilot Program.


NCSSM holds ribbon-cutting as NC GreenPower Solar School

NCSSM held a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony yesterday afternoon for the new educational solar array installed on the school’s Durham campus as part of NC GreenPower’s Solar Schools program. The event was part of a larger sustainability kick-off event, including a featured speaker, music by NCSSM’s Jazz Ensemble, and ice cream provided by Howling Cow from NC State University.

NCSSM was designated an NC GreenPower Solar School in 2016, in the second class of schools to ever be selected for the program. The program provides matching grants for the installation of small solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at North Carolina schools, providing clean, green, renewable energy as well as a valuable tool to educate students about renewable energy. NC GreenPower partnered with the State Employees Credit Union (SECU) Foundation, who provided a $10,000 matching challenge grant, allowing the school to upgrade the system from 3 kilowatts to 5 kilowatts. As part of this pilot program, NCSSM joins 8 other schools in the state with completed systems.

Vice President Vicky McCann of NC GreenPower shared remarks during the ceremony, saying, “NC GreenPower is proud to be a part of this effort to help schools and their communities learn more about energy and renewable energy resources. We hope that this system, along with the monitoring equipment, the weather station, the curriculum that has been specifically tailored for grades 11 and 12 to meet state standards, all of these things together will enhance the learning experience here at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics for many, many years to come.”

Godfrey Herndon of the SECU Advisory Board, Durham, Duke Street Branch, was also present and spoke at the event, saying, “We are proud to be a supporting member of the Solar Schools program, and assisting with the funding for the system that you see here today. We think that this will provide very valuable educational benefits, and make powerful and positive differences in the consumption of traditional electricity.”

NCSSM Foundation President Katie Wagstaff expressed her gratitude to the donors who made this installation possible, including NC GreenPower and the SECU Foundation for their matching challenge grants, as well as the individual donors who together provided the matching funds for the project — the donors to the NCSSM Environmental Sustainability Fund, including Cecelia and Steve Warshaw, former vice chancellor for academic programs, who worked tirelessly to make NCSSM a showcase of sustainability within the UNC system.

The major components of NCSSM’s solar array system include: 12 Sunpower solar modules supplied by NC GreenPower, interactive inverters, and internet monitoring systems that provide solar irradiation, ambient air temperature, module temperature and other data. These systems serve as educational tools in the classroom but also provide an energy impact: The solar array produces an estimated 6,570 kilowatt-hours, and has a potential cost savings of about $650 annually.

About NC GreenPower

Since the launch of the program, NC GreenPower renewable energy projects have generated 868 million kilowatt-hours of green power. Donors have contributed nearly $6 million in incentive payments to more than 1,020 renewable energy projects in almost every county across North Carolina. That’s the equivalent of providing 60,400 houses with energy for a year. Carbon offset projects have mitigated 54,600 tonnes of greenhouse gases – equivalent to the emissions from driving 152 million miles – and that’s like planting 9.26 million trees.

Donations to the program can be made by individuals or businesses through their utility bill or directly to NC GreenPower. Projects are located only within North Carolina, so you can be assured that your contribution will stay local, supporting a brighter future. To support NC GreenPower and learn more about the Solar Schools pilot, visit Contributions to the program are tax-deductible.

Learn more about sustainability at NCSSM