Solar on La Crosse Schools driving solar energy projects for school district

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 4:40 PM CST
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - A La Crosse nonprofit is working with the school district to build sustainable energy practices.

Solar on La Crosse Schools (SOLS) was formed in the spring of 2020 by parents, teachers, students, and community members.

Secretary Alysa Remsburg says the group is trying to promote renewable energy through different solar energy projects within the district.

“We’re working to educate, advocate, and fundraise, and this is one thing we can do to help lessen the harmful and costly effects of climate change,” Remsburg explained. “It also creates wonderful learning opportunities for students of all ages.”

SOLS completed its first major project this fall with the installation of solar panels on Hamilton Elementary.

The nonprofit’s latest contribution to the district came Tuesday, as a pair of portable solar ovens were donated at Northside Elementary.

“Any educator in the district could reserve them, and then use them with some lesson plan resources that we’re providing to use with their students to show how the power of the sun can be harnessed,” SOLS Director Heather Talbot detailed.

Northside was not only the site for the donation, but is also marked as the next school to receive solar panels.

Talbot says SOLS is once again raising funds for the project, with $34,000 collected so far.

“If resources were not an issue, the School District of La Crosse would be pursuing some of these renewable energy solutions, but the large upfront cost of the systems is not attainable for school districts the way that they’re funded,” Talbot expressed.

SOLS has set a $100,000 fundraising goal, and will be applying for grants to help reach that mark.

In the meantime, Remsburg is trying to find ways to get kids in the district more involved with renewable energy.

“Smaller term goals for next year would include working with the high schools,” Remsburg said. “We’d love to work with students to actually build and install some smaller projects.”

Since it was founded, SOLS has raised more than $85,000 for solar energy projects across the district.

Construction on the Northside solar project is being targeted for June 2022.

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