Leyden High School District 212 – in Cook County, Illinois – is installing new solar panels at each campus that will teach STEM students firsthand about solar photovoltaic technology, allowing them to track live data from each panel.


West Leyden High School will host a “Solar Celebration” for STEM classes to celebrate the new solar panels on August 29, and East Leyden High School will host its celebration on August 30.


The solar panels were made possible by the district receiving a total of $20,800 in grant funds for the initiative. Each campus received $6,400 from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation, as well as an additional $4,000 from the Cook County Solar School Grant. These funds covered the solar panels’ installation cost and established a 10-year maintenance fund.


“I am excited for the new opportunities that these solar panels will provide Leyden students for years to come,” Frank Holthouse, the director of careers and community outreach said in the press release. “Now when students learn about renewable energy they will not just read chapters and complete labs, but they will now be able also to engage with commercial-grade solar panels.”


Each campus received three commercial-grade solar panels, with each array of panels producing 1.4 kWh of electricity. “While this is a small amount of electricity compared to what we consume as a district, the intent is to expose students to this technology and concepts around sustainability,” the release said.


The STEM classes will be able to track live data from each panel, learn about renewable energy and solar photovoltaic technology, and receive hands-on experience with the arrays. 


“I hope that this new resource will highlight renewable energy as an emerging technology,” Holthouse said. “This will provide students with the opportunity to engage with all that solar panels have to offer, from power generation analysis to learning the photovoltaic process, students will get to do it all!”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk SLG's Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.