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Northland Lutheran High School joins WPS SolarWise programSubmitted: 10/16/2017
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director
lkimble@wjfw.com

Northland Lutheran High School joins WPS SolarWise program
KRONENWETTER - A near-perfect sunny day provided the perfect backdrop for the latest addition outside Ryan Wiechmann's school.

"Oh, it's monstrous!" Wiechmann said.

A towering array of solar panels shimmered in the sun over Wiechmann's shoulder at Northland Lutheran High School in Kronenwetter.  Monday, the school and family members celebrated the addition to Wisconsin Public Service's SolarWise for Schools program.

"We are very patient for it but very glad," Wiechmann said.

Northland Lutheran told WPS it was interested in joining the program a few years ago, then showed further interest by competing in the utility's annual Solar Olympics. Crews installed the panels at the Kronenwetter school Friday. Students will track solar data and use it as part of the science, math, and other technology curricula.

"Great 21st-century skills," Wiechmann said. "Problem-solving, the critical thinking how do use that solar energy or any form of renewable energy to make a difference in the world?"

The panels are the 56th set WPS has installed, but the first array that actually moves with the sun. The panels cost around $21,000, but all of that is covered by the WPS Community Foundation.

"These donations are voluntary and they really keep not only our ability to not only expand this program to new schools but the donations also cover maintaining those existing systems," WPS spokesman Matt Cullen said.

Before Monday's ceremony, high school students also learned about hydro and wind power and electric cars. WPS expects the SolarWise program -- which started in 1996 -- to spark important interest in the STEM fields.

"Renewable energy is an important thing for WPS and to be able to educate students about that is one of the main goals and main focuses of this program," Cullen said.

Now active and generating about 6,000 kWh per year, the panels will stay as a permanent fixture, which Wiechmann sees as the perfect welcome sign for his school.

"One more way for people to stop and say, 'What's going on there? This is something neat, I want to be a part of it,'" Wiechmann said.

Cullen says there are a few of the 62 high schools in its coverage area that aren't part of the program. For more information, visit the website below.

Related Weblinks:
Wisconsin Public Service SolarWise Project

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