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Green Visions
A Northland Morning feature focusing on local environmental issues, heard Wednesdays at 8:20 a.m. Green Visions is brought to you by All Energy Solar, Minnesota Power Energy Conservation Program, and Energy Plus.

Green Visions: Solar for Schools

Solar panels at a slant beneath a partly cloudy blue sky
Tua Ulama [Via Flickr]

In 2018, a group of Ordean middle school students in Duluth took initial steps toward securing solar power and using it to support the energy needs of the district. Now, six-years later, three soon-to-be high school seniors who were involved with those first stages are continuing their work toward the goal.

"We lost a little bit of momentum when the pandemic hit," says Mauren, one of the Duluth East High School seniors involved with Climate Club. "It was really hard to meet and encourage everyone to keep working on this project." Mauren, along with Zoe, Kate, and others, have been petitioning and lobbying to restart these local green efforts.

Cost is often a large hurdle when updating to renewable energy, but as the Climate Club sees it that cost may be lower than most would anticipate. "It is pretty close to zero," says Kate regarding the projected cost. "Our group actually lobbied legislation to pass the Solor for Schools grant funding - and it passed." The result of this grant funding is up to 50% financial support for a project of this kind. Additionally, congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act which offers a similar 50%.

Although the wheels are moving again, these students know that they'll be moving on soon. Part of their work is ensuring that the work will continue post-graduation. "We have a really good group of passionate students who really want to help," says Zoe. "We hope that people will take up the mantel when we graduate, and I trust that will happen."

And the efforts aren't likely to stop at the Duluth East property line. “We have been growing our group to be called the Duluth Climate Club," says Mauren. "It's encompassing the entire community and showing what we can all do to make this change.”

For more information, interested parties are encouraged to email the Duluth Climate Club.

You can hear Green Visions at 8:20am every Wednesday on Northland Morning.

Luke Moravec is the host for Northland Morning on The North 103.3. He’s also a local actor, musician and writer. He loves puzzles, riddles and fun mysteries.
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