Thirteen Western Massachusetts middle and high schools will soon have Solar Learning Laboratories that will provide “hands-on” learning. This will be made possible by a $1.045 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to Diversified Construction Services, LLC of Amherst, MA.
Each Solar Learning Lab will consist of 8 solar panels mounted on racks and poles that are installed adjacent to school classrooms producing 1.8 kW of electricity. With accompanying curriculum materials and teacher support, the Solar Learning Labs will be used in science, math, and technology classes to excite students with real-world experiences.
The first three labs will be constructed in September by Hyperion Systems, LLC, the solar division of Diversified Construction Services. These will be located at Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School in Northampton, Hopkins Academy in Hadley and Northfield-Mount Herman School in Northfield. Each of these schools supported the grant application and has begun planning for fall installations.
School science faculty working with STEM curriculum developers and evaluators will create curriculum specifically designed to integrate Solar Learning Lab activities into existing science curriculum. Construction of the labs during school hours will allow science teachers and their students to observe the installation of the solar array and the associated components.
J. David Marley, owner of Diversified Construction, LLC said that ten more labs will be installed during 2012, with commercialization for widespread installations beginning in 2013.
For additional information regarding the Solar Learning Lab project, interested parties should email David.Marley@hyperionsystemsllc.com to speak with David Marley.
The Solar Learning Lab website can be found here.