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.
Tyler said he met with Creighton for about an hour and a half after school to talk about his project. In the meeting, Creighton outlined the steps Tyler has to take in order to accomplish his goal of placing solar panels on the roof of the school.
Tyler emails Creighton with any questions he has while working on his project, such as where the solar panels might go, how they might be paid for, and what the time frame would be.
“If Jake’s project is a success, we will be able to save not only the school’s money but save taxpayers’ money,” Magers said.
According to Magers, the photovoltaic panels could save the school more than $17,000, a savings that could be passed onto taxpayers in Essex and Manchester.
“Jake has the intelligence and commitment to be successful in his mission. He has what it takes and also has a great team behind him,” Magers said.
Lila Hughes, a student at Manchester Essex Regional High School, writes for the school’s newspaper, The Independent.