High School Student Science Project = Solar School, Put Solar on the Roof of Every School

Of all the places to put solar panels there few are better than the roof of a school. Recently a high school senior selected solar energy as his study exersise and through his own research and iniative, was able to install solar on the roof of his Detroit school.

Solar and renewable energy study interest is in high demand and rising. Interest in solar energy is growing and the future business prospects of solar and all renewable energy technology are excellent.

Excellent we say to young Ryan Toussaint. The pursuit of solar knowledge is an honorable endevelor and you are our American solar hero for the week. Read More

Solar energy grid gets high marks. Shawn D. Lewis, The Detroit News

Never mind a 12 page report or unwieldy display. Ryan Toussaint’s science project is on the roof of Lahser High School.  The high school senior selected solar energy as his semester-long independent study exercise and custom designed a grid of six solar photovoltaic panels now installed on the school’s science wing roof that could eventually supply 20 percent of the wing’s lighting.

“Solar panel technology something I’ve always been interested in and I plan to study it in college,” said Toussaint, 18. “I ultimately want to go into electrical or computer engineering. Solar careers are good paying jobs.”

Lahser High is a “green” school, and Toussaint said the solar panels help make the school even greener. “I wanted to raise awareness about alternative energy, and get more people involved,” the teen said. Charlie Hollerith, principal of the school, said the district isn’t sure how much solar energy the student’s project will save “since all the solar monitoring equipment is not yet installed.” He called Toussaint’s leadership an inspiration to the entire school.

“Ryan has done incredible work researching, preparing and organizing this great solar project,” he said. “He will make not only a great engineer some day, but more importantly, a great leader.”

Hollerith said Lahser is recognized as an Emerald Green school by the state for its level of participation in environmentally friendly and energy saving activities similar to this solar installation.

“Ryan’s solar project is a great example of Lahser’s commitment to be environmentally conscious,” the principal said.
“Ryan’s efforts have certainly led the way for us to expand not only solar but other alternative forms of energy at all our school buildings.”

Toussaint began his project in January by researching types of solar renewable energy. He sketched drawings illustrating how the solar energy system would look, and figured it would cost about $12,500.

“Michigan CAT, the Caterpillar dealer covering the lower peninsula of Michigan, stepped forward and told me in February that if I wanted to make my drawing and idea a reality, it would cover all the costs,” Toussaint said. “I am very grateful to them.” Renewable Energy Corp. supplied the solar panels. Toussaint said if the materials and installation hadn’t been donated, the solar grid would have qualified for state incentives and utility credits that would have covered much of its cost over time.

He said the solar panels, which were installed in August and span 5 feet by 18 feet, receive sunlight for slightly more than four hours a day over the course of a year, producing the most electrical solar power in the summer.