Solar Panels Finally Being Hooked Up on Golden Secondary School

On Tuesday July 11, Golden Electrical contracting installed new solar panel microinverters on Golden Secondary School. This project was made possible because of a grant from Columbia Basin Trust’s Resident Directed Grants (ReDi) program.

The original idea was to apply for a grant to install solar panels on Lady Grey elementary school; however, after contacting the School District we learned that there have been solar panels on Golden Secondary for more than a decade, but they never finished being hooked up because they ran out of funding. We then decided to apply for inverters for the existing solar panels instead so they could start producing electricity for the school and not have to sit there uselessly. The required amount of money needed to finish hooking up these existing solar panels was significantly less than installing new solar panels. We had the support of School District No.6, the Town of Golden and the Golden and District Air Quality Committee in our application and in the end we were successful. 

A microinverter is a device that connects to a single solar panel, converting Direct Current (DC) electricity into Alternating Current (AC) electricity, which can then be used to power buildings or appliances. Traditional inverters are plugged into a group of panels, meaning if one solar panel stops working the entire system stops working. Microinverters on the other hand are each connected to their own panel, meaning if one solar panel stops working the rest can keep producing electricity. The output of electricity from the solar panels on Golden Secondary will be able to be measured using an app-based system which the school can use to see how much electricity is being produced every hour, day, month and year from the panels. Any excess electricity produced from the solar panels is redistributed back to the grid, which is then credited on to the school’s next utility bill.

These solar panels will help towards achieving Golden’s commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2050. Solar is a clean energy source that we need to invest in if we want to reduce our greenhouse gas pollution and mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis including forest fires and extreme flooding. The solar panels will also help Golden Secondary and School District No. 6 save money on their utility bills by taking advantage of free energy from the sun. Solar energy is also a great way to work towards local energy independence so towns like Golden can be less reliant on large utility companies for their electricity needs.

Wildsight Golden would like to thank CBT and the ReDi program for the funding to make this project possible, as well as School District #6 for all their support.