Environmental Action Club prompts solar panel use at Lincoln-Way Central
Wednesday, August 22, 2018

New additions to Lincoln-Way Central can be found in the form of solar panels. The project was spearheaded by Central's Environmental Action Club (EAC) and its sponsor, Mrs. Catherine Sieber. Over the course of several years, students participating in EAC have discussed global environmental issues such as supporting endangered species, as well as local issues such as creating personal composts. Their endeavor into solar energy has been a long-term goal for the club; the goal was made possible when the Knights received support from two grants.

Solar energy is radiant light which is harnessed into electricity. “Lincoln-Way Central is excited to be one of the high schools in the area demonstrating the need and use for renewable resources,” says Lincoln-Way Central Department Chair, Sarah Highfill.

With the newly installed solar panels, students at Lincoln-Way Central will be able to investigate, measure and discuss the positives of renewable energy such as solar energy. Not only will the Environmental Action Club be able to promote the panels, Lincoln-Way Central's Science Club will also benefit. Academic classes including Environmental Biology, AP Environmental Science and Physical Science will have access to the data collected and be able to see firsthand the benefits of the panels.

According to their website, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has a "mission to improve energy efficiency, advance the development and use of renewable energy resources, and protect natural areas and wildlife habitat in communities all across Illinois." The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation was established in December 1999 as an independent foundation with a $225 million endowment provided by Commonwealth Edison.

Providing over 5,000 grants during their tenure, Lincoln-Way Central is proud to be one of the most recent recipients. The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation's grant provided the solar panels—valued at $6,700—for the school. The panels can be seen from Schoolhouse Road attached to the south end of Central's B wing near door 35C.

Installation for this solar panel project was supported by Solar Star Foundation, established in 2010, with a goal to "invest in clean energy development and solar education, working with youth to improve environmental quality nationwide." Their $400 grant awarded to the school will help defray the installation cost.

"Thank you to all those who have been a part of this project, as it has taken months to get to this final stage,” says Highfill. “I appreciate the work done by Mrs. Sieber and Mr. McCreary, as well as the support from Dr. Provis, the LWC maintenance staff, and our technology support of Ms. Kay and Mr. Cimino. This installation keeps LWC Science moving in the right direction for our students and our community.”