A new program, the Philadelphia Solar Schools Initiative (PSSI), is going to implement a plan to make 20 schools in the area energy efficient by installing solar panels. The PSSI is made up of two partnering groups, Solar States and Clean Currents, and is currently looking for a full-time director to oversee and expand its operations. While the group is currently being run on an all-volunteer basis, it is still looking to expand its education output programs to more and more schools. When a permanent head is finally chosen, the group will be able to educate children more fully.
The goal of the group is to have solar power panels installed in 20 schools across Philadelphia by the end of 2014. These panels will produce 1.5 megawatts of clean energy each. But environmentally friendly ways to power these schools is not only what PSSI wants to accomplish- they also want to teach kids what they can do to reduce their carbon footprints in all areas of their lives. PSSI wants to do this by giving them hands-on experience with solar technology in courses that will meet the country's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) standards.
PSSI wants to begin offering daily classes through the YouthBuild Charter School, which is a non-profit organization in Philadelphia that educates low-income high school dropouts in one year programs. The classes taught by the energy efficiency professionals will be given to people who were anywhere from 18 to 21 years old and have stopped attending traditional schooling. Students will earn money for on the job experience while learning to design and install the solar panel school installations.
There is a lot that PSSI hopes to accomplish over the next year, but they are confident it can all be done.
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