Possibilities for Solar Energy at Breck


Solar energy is becoming more and more popular, and I wanted to help get Breck on the solar-powered train. A few times per day, I would see a house, or a building with solar panels, so I started thinking about how Breck could install some. Last year, I registered for a class called Advanced Math Research, which is a program in which students partner with a community-based organization to develop a research question and answer it using statistical methods or mathematical modeling. So, when I joined Advanced Math Research, I needed to find a topic to research. I decided on solar energy at Breck. 

I then started finding the numbers to back up my plan to install solar panels on Breck grounds. I definitely couldn’t have come up with the numbers all by myself, so I asked Mr. Thorson along with the Environmental Club for help in collecting the data. After doing the research I found that some older efforts had been made, but Breck had never taken them past the planning stage. In fact, adding any form of solar was not in Breck’s newest 10-year plan. 

This was shocking and this pushed me to work harder to prove that, not only was solar energy a way of making energy and money, but a good one. I found that to power Breck is the equivalent of powering about 400 houses. After seeing that, I decided that just powering 10% of the Upper School would be a good start because you could always upgrade the solar array. After an initial cost of about $33,000, it would take about 16 years for the solar array to pay itself back, and after that, it would generate ~$2,000 every year for about 30 years. Schools are usually good places to install solar arrays because of the fact that they do not go out of business and maintain a long life. 

Breck has been around since the 1800s and continues to serve students. If we can make a cleaner school, we could improve not only ourselves but the greater community around us. It would not be a good short-term investment, but rather a long term investment, but the payoff is worth it.