GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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December 19, 2012

Student project could cut $17,000 from school energy bill

MANCHESTER — The solar array on the Manchester Essex Regional High School roof needs upgrading, and a member of the school’s Green Team is working to make it happen.

Student Jake Tyler, a junior, has undertaken the yearlong project to promote sustainability by lowering the school’s carbon footprint. If he succeeds, he could save Essex and Manchester taxpayers $17,000.

Tyler said he chose this particular project because he thought it would make the biggest impact on the school.

Tyler must take numerous steps to accomplish his goal of completing the project. He said he has to contact a company called Power Options, which would come and install the solar panels. Once installed, the company would technically own the panels, but the school would purchase the power generated from this particular company for a lower rate than what the school pays for energy now.

“Out of all the projects we have currently, which are 14 of them, Jake’s is the most difficult because there are so many parts and pieces to it,” Green Team adviser Eric Magers said.

According to Tyler, all Green Team scholars have a community partner, whose job is to guide students to their goals using knowledge that he or she has from the professional world. Tyler’s community partner is Manchester resident Sarah Creighton, who was chairwoman of the Manchester Essex School Building Committee that oversaw the construction of the new high school, and who is knowledgeable about photovoltaic, or solar, panels.

“I helped him understand the varying ways he could fund for his project, and also some of the limitations that would come with being a student; for example, a student probably couldn’t do things that a licensed electrician needed to do,” Creighton said.

According to Magers, he cannot help with Jake’s project but can only lead him in the right direction, which is why the community partner is so vital.

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