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Rockford Elementary receives solar school grant

NC GreenPower recently announced that Rockford Elementary School was selected as one of 20 schools across the state which received matching funds to establish a 5-kilowatt solar energy system on campus.

NC GreenPower plans to award each school with a solar educational package, valued at approximately $42,000. In addition to a solar array, the schools will receive donated SunPower solar modules, STEM curricula, teacher training, and more.

Rockford Elementary School will join 56 other awardees since the Solar+ Schools program launched. This will be Surry County Schools’ second school to earn this distinction, with Meadowview Magnet Middle School being the first NC GreenPower Solar+ School to go online in 2015.

NC GreenPower’s board of directors’ review committee met this spring to evaluate applications and make selections for 2022’s program. For the first time, 20 schools will be awarded solar installations, the most in the program’s history. Additionally, six more schools will be announced later this summer, including one in Johnston County, another new county to the program.

Officials with Surry County Schools and Rockford Elementary School are excited about the benefits of having a solar array on campus. The installed photovoltaic systems serve as educational tools and provide an energy impact, likely producing enough renewable energy to power the school’s main office. In the past, installed solar arrays at other schools have generated an average of 8,026 kilowatt-hours annually, which could potentially save Rockford Elementary School up to $800 per year. NC GreenPower Solar+ Schools have saved an estimated $68,400 in electricity expenses since the program’s introduction in 2015.

“I am excited about the real-world, hands-on experiences that this grant will provide for the students and faculty at Rockford Elementary,” said former Rockford Elementary Principal Dr. Matthew White. “I know that the incoming principal, Laura Whitaker, is looking forward to this as well. I am also thankful for the continued partnerships with NC GreenPower, NC State Employees Credit Union, Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation, and our Surry County Schools Educational Foundation for their support of Rockford Elementary.”

Jeff Edwards, science coordinator, echoed Dr. White’s enthusiasm. “We are pleased to be able to provide students with the opportunity to explore green technology and to learn about sustainable energy as they grow to become leaders in our communities. We are thankful for Surry County Schools Education Foundation and Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership for their support for this project.”

“Surry County School is beyond excited to work with NC GreenPower once again,” said Superintendent Dr. Travis L. Reeves. “When Meadowview Magnet Middle School received this distinction in 2015, the district knew that installing solar technology on campus would prove to be a powerful educational tool for our students. Now, with the addition of Rockford Elementary School’s solar installation, Surry County Schools can continue to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders. In Surry County, our mission is to help students design their dreams and grow as leaders. Opportunities for students to have hands-on interactions with cutting-edge technology assists the district with this mission and will make a meaningful impact on the lives of students.”

Surry County Schools and Rockford Elementary School plan to hold a dedication ceremony once the solar array is installed and operational.

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