All It Takes is One Good Idea Local Mom Works to Get

first_img Share. 0 Local Mom Works to Get Solar on Lava Ridge Elementary in Bend, OregonA United Kingdom native and cartoonist, Ashleigh Brilliant, once said, “Good ideas are common – what’s uncommon are people who’ll work hard enough to bring them about.” This quote sums up how a simple idea turned into an energy saving, curricula enhancing, solar installation at Lava Ridge Elementary.Jen Rule, had recently installed solar panels on her home and noticed how the installation had sparked enthusiastic curiosity in her son. He relished the new information and even began to share his knowledge with friends who were equally curious and excited.At the time, Rule was volunteering at Lava Ridge Elementary through The Environmental Center’s Green Team Parent Liaison program and worked closely with Lava Ridge teacher, Jennifer Ketner. As the successful Green Team program came to a close, both women wondered if there was something more they could do to make a positive impact on the school.Rule thought back to her son’s excitement and curiosity about the solar addition to her home and shared the story with Ketner. Rule questioned, “Why not get solar on installed on Lava Ridge?” Both Rule and Ketner concluded that if they could get a free solar system installed then the likelihood of getting a solar project approved by the district would be greater. Although the idea seemed far-fetched they both decided to research the possibility. Coincidentally, Lindsey Hardy of Sunlight Solar Energy Inc. contacted Wahoo Films to inquire about pricing for shooting a television commercial. After discussing the commercial, Rule probed Hardy for information regarding whether it was possible to install solar on Lava Ridge Elementary and funding options.Armed with a plan of attack Rule and Ketner presented their findings to Lava Ridge Principal, Jon Lindsay and Director of Facilities Mike Tiller. Emphasis was placed on fact that the school would have to be awarded two grants and an Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) incentive to pay for the entire solar system. Lindsey was impressed that both women were able to take a seemingly unlikely idea and find a way to make it happen so he approved their request to apply for the grants and ETO incentive.A few months into the grant application process came a road block. One of the grants required a $1,000 earnest money from the school. Since it was summertime, the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) was not active and could not assist with raising the earnest money.Rule decided to get creative and reached out to Joe Emerson of Net Zero Energy Homes. Emerson and Rule came up with a list of solar minded businesses that might be willing to donate to the school.One business, Advanced Energy, stuck out to Rule but historically only donated to nationally recognized organizations. Taking a chance, Rule contacted the marketing department of Advanced Energy. To her surprise, the marketing person she spoke with had a child who had attended Lava Ridge Elementary. Advanced Energy then donated the funds so that the grant application process could continue.Two years of waiting for approvals led to finally securing funding for the solar installation. Lava Ridge Elementary had been awarded the Pacific Power Blue Sky grant, the Renewable Energy Development grant from the Oregon Department of Energy as well as The Energy Trust of Oregon incentive.However this was just one step completed in the process. Lava Ridge still needed someone to install the system. Lava Ridge sent their solar installation project to public bid and received several qualifying request for proposals from solar companies across the state.Since Lava Ridge Elementary is a government building they must accept the least costly bid to complete the installation. Sunlight Solar Energy Inc. was awarded the bid and installation began on August 1, 2014. This gave Sunlight Solar exactly one month to complete a 240 panel, 66 kW solar installation. In the final week of August the majority of the installation was completed.Lava Ridge Elementary Back to School for students, faculty and parents on September 11 showcased solar installation. A ribbon cutting ceremony is also planned later in September for the public to view the panels and the live data-monitoring kiosk which will be displayed in the front lobby of the school’s entrance.Thanks to a simple idea, Jen Rule, Jennifer Ketner, Jon Lindsey, Mike Tiller and Lindsey Hardy all worked together to achieve one goal — the installation of a solar panel system at Lava Ridge Elementary. What started out as an idea soon became a tangible benefit for Lava Ridge Elementary that not only saves on energy costs but enhances current and future student understanding of renewable energy.www.sunlightsolar.comKim Wilson-Outreach DirectorSunlight Solar Energy Inc.541-322-1910 [email protected] E-Headlines Pinterest All It Takes is One Good Idea. Local Mom Works to Get Solar on Lava Ridge Elementary in Bend, Oregon Facebook on September 16, 2014center_img Twitter LinkedIn Google+ By Kim Wilson Outreach Director for Sunlight Solar Energy Inc Tumblr Emaillast_img read more

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