The Solar Golf Cart Charging Station - 2008/2009


Click Here to View a Slideshow of Solar Photos

In The Press

Click Each Link to See the Full Document

Thank You Arizona Republic! x 2

AZ Republic - Student helps PV School Go Green

AZ Republic - School to Unveil Solar Panels

Thank You Paradise Valley Independent! x 2

PV Indpt. - PCDS Senior Makes Waves with Solar Energy

PV Indpt. - Solar Energy Panels Net PCDS $5k Grant

Thank You Jewish News of Greater Phoenix!

Jewish News - Solar Student

Link to Original Jewish News Article

SRP Grant Recipients via SRP's Site

SRP Press Release Detailing 2008-2009 Grant Recipients

The Solar Golf Cart Charging Station Grant Application

Project Title – The Solar Power Golf Cart Charging Station Grant Co-Authored by Michael Silverman, Teacher 1 and Teacher 2 Project Description and Timeline: The ever-warming global climate and its possibly disastrous effects, such as melting ice caps, rising sea levels, widespread desertification, and the spread of diseases, such as malaria, are issues of huge concern. The need for educational institutions to educate and inform their students to ensure that business does not continue as usual and that action is taken to save the planet has never been greater. The “Green Team” at Phoenix Country Day School, composed of a wide assortment of students and faculty members, wants to do its part in the worldwide fight against global warming by reducing its carbon footprint as much as possible. We, as students and teachers, are actively engaged in our school’s ground-breaking sustainability initiative, which, just this year through the Green Team’s efforts, created comprehensive school-wide recycling and waste management programs. We believe that this is a fantastic start for the Green Team, but we want to do more. For the second semester of 2008, the Green Team at PCDS has decided to step up its efforts by initiating what will hopefully be the first of many solar power projects on the PCDS campus. Our primary goal for this inaugural project is to create a solarpowered charging station for the eight electric golf carts currently on campus. In addition to taking eight electric golf carts off the primarily fossil fueled grid, we also intend to use the project as a teaching tool for students in the lower, middle, and upper school science classes and as a test bed for solar technology on the PCDS campus. We hope this project will not only expand our own understanding of sustainability and solar technology, but also inspire other students and faculty to join the Green Team and explore ways that they can become involved in the sustainability movement. The excitement and interest a clearly visible solar array on campus would generate among the students, faculty, and parents at PCDS would be instrumental in changing their attitudes and beliefs regarding sustainability, global warming, and how we should treat our environment. This specific project serves as a powerful demonstration of how both students and faculty can make a personal contribution to fighting global warming: it will be the first time a joint student and faculty team has worked together to enhance our school’s campus both visually and environmentally. At the same time, our school will continue to engage in efforts to reduce our environmental impact as a school and educate students, faculty, and parents. The Green Team is continually working on increasing the use of non-toxic cleaning supplies, the elimination of plastic water bottles on campus, and an Earth Day celebration at the end of April. Our timeline for the Solar Golf Cart Charging Station project is as follows. Timeline Phase Phase 1 – Research, Planning, and Fundraising MarchMid-April Description This phase includes researching which type of solar panel we want to use, measuring the electricity consumption of the golf carts to appropriately size the solar array, selecting a company from which to purchase the system, and acquiring funds for the project. Phase 2 – Install Solar Array, Begin Integration Into Class Curriculums Late April/Early May Mid-May This phase includes the actual assembly of the solar array and its integration with the golf cart charging system. We will also begin to talk to teachers about class lessons involving the system for PCDS’s Earth Day celebration, the rest of the school year, and the future. At this point in the project, we hope to have Phase 3 – Installation Complete, Continue Class Curriculum Integration Mid-May  Late-May the solar array installed and operational. We will also continue to work with faculty and students on classroom curriculum integration and possible student-led projects. While these times are not exact, the Green Team would like to complete the project as soon as possible and has already conducted much of the research involved in Phase 1, such as measuring electricity consumption of the golf carts and possible classroom integration. Student Impact: The student impact on this project will be extremely widespread at PCDS and will involve science classes in the lower, middle, and upper schools. In total, approximately 600-700 students will be involved in research projects involving the solar installation. Additionally, the solar array’s central location just outside the cafeteria will allow the students to observe it at work each and every day on their way to lunch. The Green Team believes that the positive impact on students will be substantial. Listed below are just some of the possible ways we see students interacting with the project with constructive learning outcomes. • Currently, students in 8th grade science classes build small, model, solar cars to explore how our vehicles consume energy, in addition to how solar panels generate electricity. Upon the completion of the Solar Golf Cart Charging Station, students would be able to upscale their projects in order to learn from a real world application of the technology they previously discussed in class. They would also learn about how energy is distributed on the grid, the different forms of electricity (AC/DC), and how student/faculty-lead projects can make practical and substantial differences on their campus. • We would also use the Solar Golf Cart Charging Station, in collaboration and conjunction with the NEED project (which provides activities and curriculum planning through their Schools Going Solar program for science classes in 5th-12th grade, published at ) An example of the curriculum is an activity where students would analyze and measure the efficiency and power production of the solar panels over time. More advanced students could also measure the school’s monetary savings, in addition to how much carbon emissions the solar panels have saved. • Once students have evaluated the Golf Cart Charging Station’s solar array, they could begin to plan for other potential solar array locations on the PCDS campus. • Students will also see that science is not only long hours in research labs, but that it also involves practical positive applications that make visible differences in the places in which they live and play. Creativity: Our project is extremely unique in a state where there should be a solar installation on every roof. Sadly, very few schools in the state of Arizona have significant solar installations on their school campuses, and of those that have them, few use them to their fullest potential in curriculum co-ordination, student involvement, and the efficient offset of a fuel consuming sector on campus. The Green Team believes our school is unique in how rapidly it can integrate the Solar Golf Cart Charging Station into a curriculum that impacts over 700 students and faculty every day. We also believe the successful completion of the Solar Golf Cart Charging Station on PCDS’s campus would be instrumental in influencing future decisions regarding new building construction plans and how “green” to make them. We believe that the relative youth of the Green Team as a committee at PCDS (first year!) and how much it has done on campus already is illustrative of how unique the PCDS community is in terms of its commitment to creating a more sustainable environment. Benefit To School/Community/Environment Even though we firmly believe that the impact on students, faculty, and parents could never be fully measured, we also believe there would be many concrete benefits due to the completion of the Solar Golf Cart Charging Station. • A concrete real-world application of solar technology on our school’s campus would be invaluable as a teaching tool and would show the real world applications of basic research. • The Solar Golf Cart Charging Station would serve as an initial test bed for solar innovation on the PCDS campus and would undoubtedly influence the design of new buildings on campus. • It will allow us to power our golf carts on clean, renewable, solar power instead of via less environmentally sustainable fossil fuels. • It would allow us to pursue LEED Certification for the building upon which the system is installed. • The system will be highly visible to both the students and their parents, and will serve as an educational tool for parents regarding how practical it truly is to install a solar array in their own homes. • It would also undoubtedly influence the next generation that is currently attending PCDS to be more ecologically aware in their actions and thoughts. Budget Due to the large initial cost of the solar panels and the fact that they are the primary expense for this project, the entirety of our grant would go towards paying for the solar panels themselves. In addition, our extremely resourceful teaching staff will most likely integrate the Solar Charging Station into the curriculum and student projects at a negligible financial cost. To cover the cost of the system, we will seek additional funding from a variety of sources, including our school’s budget, donors, and/or from Green Team sponsored fundraisers, such as our Earth Day celebration. Budget Item/Expense Total Project Projected Cost $30,000-$41,000 This includes the solar panels themselves, installation, and monitoring devices to show students how much energy the golf carts use and the solar panels produce. Kyocera/Sharp Solar Panels at about 13% efficiency Sunny Boy 2100U or Fronius IG Grid Tied Inverter ≈$1,000 per panel, # we need is still being researched and determined. ≈$1,500 and ≈$2,000 respectively Could change depending on size of solar array. Bigger array = bigger inverter, smaller array = smaller inverter. Depends on size of the solar array. ≈$700 Solarwedges – to tilt the solar panels to the optimal angles Sunny WebBox – to allow remote internet display and monitoring of solar panel data If more detailed budget data is needed, do not hesitate to contact any one of us mentioned on the cover page, as by the time you read this, we will most likely have more accurate data. However, as of 3-25-2008, this data is accurate and the projected total cost will most likely not change at all. Evaluation Process The success of this project will be measured primarily by how many students are involved in projects with the solar installation, the percentage of science classes that have integrated it into their curriculum, and by how many future buildings are either planned with solar panels in mind (appropriately slanting, sizing, and orienting roofs, for example), or have solar panels integrated into their roofs from the start. The Green Team’s goals include: 80% of students completing some type of project involving the solar installation, 90-100% curriculum integration, 25% near-term buildings integrated with solar panels, and 100% of buildings planned so that there is easy future installation of solar panels. Addendum My name is Michael Silverman and I worked on a project last year that was made possible by one of your learning grants. I learned so much from the Biodiesel Golf Cart conversion project that I completed last year with a partner (more at on the project) that I wanted to bring that energy and thirst for learning to the PCDS campus. From a student’s perspective, there was nothing more instrumental in shifting the administration at my old school to new ideas and concepts than that single sustainability project. I believe that this grant, if given to PCDS, would be a fantastic start to what is sure to be a long lived green “movement” on campus. Thank you very much for your time taken reading this grant, and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact myself or my partners on this project, teacher 1 or teacher 2.

Curriculum Integration Update

As part of the second phase of the project (which will continue indefinately), we will continue the creation of a curriculum that can fully utilize the solar array and its many scientific aspects.
Some ideas currently being discussed and implemented include:

  • Statistical analysis of solar data - which will be available online shortly - by students in grades 6-12.
  • Exploration of the technologies (silicon, electron movement, etc.) involved in solar panels.
  • The overall environmental importance of solar panels and clean power for students in grades K-6.
  • We will also be using curriculum planning tools from, the National Energy Education and Developlment Project.
  • In addition, we will also be utilizing SRP's own Powering our Future curriculum which outlines learning activities for students from 4th grade through high school.
  • Presentations to lower school students to engage and educate future green leaders on campus. Check out a video of one of the presentations below.

Build Phase Update

The panels have been succesfully installed and are fully operational!
18 solar panels generating enough clean renewable energy to power all of the electric golf carts on campus.
A web tool to visualize exactly how much energy they are producing will be linked here as soon as it is available. In the mean time, take a look at the below image of the solar power output of the array. Click for a larger version. We hope to have this data available to anyone very soon.

In addition, you can view some of the installation pictures by clicking on the gallery below or on the link here, which will take you to my photography site with more pictures of the panels.


The panels have been succesfully installed and are fully operational!
18 solar panels generating enough clean renewable energy to power all of the electric golf carts on campus.
A web tool to visualize exactly how much energy they are producing will be linked here as soon as it is available. In the mean time, take a look at the below image of the solar power output of the array. Click for a larger version. We hope to have this data available to anyone very soon.

In addition, you can view some of the installation pictures by clicking on the gallery below or on the link here, which will take you to my photography site with more pictures of the panels.

View the PCDS Web Page for the Project

pcds solar page.JPG

The Solar Golf Cart Charging Station's Story

Some may call me crazy, but in 11th grade I decided to switch schools. While some may see this as a loss of the opportunities that my old school gave me, such as the biodiesel golf cart and the sustainable house below, I saw it as a chance to increase awareness of the environment at a new school and as a blank canvas with limitless opportunities.

In 2008, 11th grade, I decided that it was time to apply for another grant from SRP, our local power company. After thoroughly discussing the schools goals with the faculty, we decided that a solar array on campus would be invaluable in number of ways. It could be used as a teaching tool for science classes in the lower, middle, and upper school science classes, in addition to improving environmental awareness among faculty, students, and parents alike.

In collaboration with 2 faculty advisers, I proceeded to write and submit the grant. A few short weeks later, SRP confirmed that we were successful and would be receiving a $5,000 check in the mail very soon. While the $5,000 grant certainly helped offset the cost, it did not completely cover it. After showing the board of my school the many benefits of having a solar array on campus, they approved the necessary funds for the project.

To Everyone that Made This Project A Reality

Thank You!

This project would not have happened without the generous support of:
The students, faculty and administration at PCDS
American Solar
The Arizona Republic
The Paradise Valley Independent