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Solar Panels & Lab

The Solar Panels & Lab is a traditional Photovolteic (PV) Solar installation that generates electricity for Cupertino Middle School and a collection of interactive exhibits that provide hands-on explanations of how PV Solar works.  The combined effects of renewable energy generation and interactivity fulfills our combined goals of promoting Energy, Education, and Environment.



Help us Today!

Help us reach our $50,000 fund raising goal for our first project. This first project is being built as a "Solar Lab" that will be available to all students and the public to learn about solar technology and the dramatic impact it can have on our renewable energy capabilities.  There will be 5 rounds of $10,000 each until we reach our goal.  This is the e3council's 1st Solar Project and the first solar lab of it's kind in California.  It will be open to everyone (not just students) to learn how PV solar works.

What is a Solar Lab?

Education: The "Solar Lab" will include a collection of instrumentation and interactive exhibits that can be used by teachers, students, and the public to better understand How PV Solar Works.  The scope of the project includes benches, fence, and a display of real-time inverter information along with other 'exhibits' that relate to solar power (i.e. small solar panels that can be safely used in hands on exercises).  We will provide and update resources for teachers online to prepare lessons and field trips to the lab.

Energy & Environment: There will also be an estimated 5 kW installation of PV Solar panels that offset the electrical utility bill of the school.  The initial installation will be relatively small percentage (about 10%) of the school's energy usage.  A planned district wide project will install enough solar panels to cover the remaining 90% of the estimated electrical usage, enabling the school to nearly use 100% 'green' energy!
(Image credit: TA Smith, CUSD)  *Preliminary*

Where will the Solar Lab be installed?

11650 S. Bernardo Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94087 [map]

The planned location is on the south edge of the Gym ("sun" icon).  In this picture, the blue area represents the PV Solar Panels and the yellow area represents the fenced in area for benches, enough room for approx 30 people.  The final design and implementation is handled entirely by the Cupertino School District.  (We don't design the lab, we raise the money!)

View the Map of Important Locations or How to Canvass for more information.

When will it be ready? (Timeline)

July 17, 2009 - 1st Project Site Selected
Aug 5, 2009 - e3council Incorporated as CA non-profit
June 10,2010 - Applied IRS tax deduction status
Aug 6th, 2010 - IRS 501c3 Tax Exempt status received
Now... Fundraising Events
$50,000 Target Funds raised!
+2 months - Final design completion
+3 months - Permit approval completed
+6 months - Solar Lab installed!

Who can use the Lab?

The Solar Lab will be available to all students, teachers, and the general public based on appointment with the front office.  The local community can hold solar education programs at the school during normal school hours or at a reasonable time outside of school hours (like after school or on the weekends).  Science teachers from around the area can use the facility as a short field trip with hands-on applications of using solar energy.

How large of a Solar Array is being planned?

Target: ~ 5 kW (qty 25, 200 watt panels)

The actual electrical generating capacity will likely be between 4 kW and 10 kW depending on how much money we can raise by our target fundraising deadline.  The overall impact on the school's consumption at the beginning of the program (before energy consumption reductions are in place) will likely be less than 10% of the total annual demand.  A district wide solar program may fill the remaining 90%, making CUSD one of the state's first middle schools to reach that achievement.  Our subsequent projects at other schools will target larger size deployments as the costs of solar panels drop and our donation and grant making abilities improve.