School Seeing More Benefits from Solar Panels

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COLUMBIA - Benton Elementary School has six solar panels on its lower roof reducing electric costs. 

Benton Prinicpal Troy Hogg says the panels are a way for the students to learn something new.

"The reason we purchased them is it was part of our STEM program, and we wanted to give our students a chance to explore something new," Hogg Said.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and is a core part of the curriculum at Benton.

With a $5,000 grant from UPS, Benton was able to get Dogwood Solar, a solar contracting business in Columbia, to install the six solar panels earlier this month.  

Dogwood Solar owner Dan Shifley says there's a common misconception that solar is unafforable. 

"A few years ago that could have been the case; now it's more in people's budget," Shifley said. 

The solar panel system will produce about 1,600 kilowatt hours [kWh] per year or about 15% of a typical homeowners' electric use.

Dogwood Solar is donating educational posters how the panels work along with a hands on demonstration unit this spring.

Hogg says he hopes for more solar panels in the future. 

Besides Benton Elementary, the Columbia Area Career Center also uses solar panels.

To see how much energy the solar panals are generating at Benton visit this site