Advanced Studies Students Tour Electric Power Board Solar Share


Donated to the Digest

ADVANCED STUDIES STUDENTS TOUR EPB SOLAR SHARE — The attending gifted students stand with Mr. Adam Fletcher in front of solar panels at the EPB Solar Share site.

Blake Catlett, Assistant Editor

Since the turn of the millennia, solar energy has become more and more impactful in the world. Recently, Central’s gifted students got the opportunity to see how it is being used in their community by taking a field trip to the Electric Power Board (EPB) Solar Share, a collaboration between Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and EPB to locally promote the use of clean energy.

EPB’s solar panel field consists of a total of 4,408 solar panels, which can reach a total energy production of 1.4 megawatts, and the students got to see it all. Laura Costello, the advanced studies advisor, shared that one of the main goals of the field trip was to further the students’ understanding of solar energy. She noted that solar energy is commonly talked about amongst people without knowing the actual science behind it, so she set out to change that.

“My favorite part was that we actually got to go out to [the solar panel field] and touch the solar panels, ” shared Junior Tahlia Smith.

The students’ tour guides were engineers who work at the EPB Solar Share site. Students were able to learn what the engineers’ purpose was on site and see some of their daily routines. The engineers were also able to demonstrate how they reposition the solar panels so that they reach their highest potential for taking in solar energy.

“Most people don’t know what engineers actually do, so it was nice to learn about what their day consists of,” said Costello.

While touring the site, the students received a task from their guides. They were split into groups and were given problems to solve involving values energy output. The winning group of students received solar-powered flashlights

“I enjoyed learning about how solar energy is being used in and around our community,” said Sophomore Haroun Ghazi.

Costello has plenty more science-based field trips planned for the rest of the school year for her gifted students. She hopes to increase their understanding of the world around them.

“So what was the overall purpose? To have fun and to learn,” concluded Costello.

The EPB Solar Share has its own website. The website posts information about the power grid of Solar Share, including an hourly, daily, and monthly chart outlining the energy produced by the solar panels. The site also shows how much carbon dioxide is saved, how much carbon dioxide is offset by production, and the equivalent of miles driven using the same amount of energy produced. The sites includes much more information on the Solar Share project and its initiative, which can be found here.