Phoenix Country Day school

Solar Installation

 

Introduction

Phoenix Country Day School (PCDS as it is called by its students) is a nonsectarian college-preparatory school with an enrollment of 700 in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. The facilities, which are located on an expansive 40-acre campus, include: fully integrated computer infrastructure; modern science labs; art studios and music building; gymnasium, swimming pools, tennis courts, athletic fields, and outdoor play areas.  To keep pace with this large installation, the PCDS security and maintenance people operate a small fleet of electric vehicles which run the gamut from golf carts to neighborhood vehicles.


When the school’s progressive administration discovered what Driving on Sunshine was doing with vehicles, they moved to make this an object lesson for students, facility and the community.  Driving on Sunshine began meeting with the school’s green committee which included science teachers, administration and interested students.  A student was assigned the task of determining the load presented by the school’s EV fleet in normal operation and then to use that information to determine sizing of the system based on the Driving on Sunshine approach.  That student then went on to supervise the installation performed by American Solar Electric on Scottsdale AZ and then to verify its performance.


INSTALLATION

With the assistance of a grant from SRP (Salt River Project), PCDS completed the first stage of its solar initiative by having American Solar Electric install 20 solar panels, producing up to 3.6 kw hours of energy to contribute to the electrical demands of the campus vehicles.  Additional power is devoted to the maintenance area.

This 20 panel 3.6 kilowatt system by American Solar Electric produces more than enough power for the campus EVs.

OPERATION

PCDS students collect and analyze energy data from the solar station. Analysis prompts discussions about factors that influence solar radiation while students study renewable energy and air pollution.  What’s more, older students now teach the younger ones how solar panels work and how they charge their vehicles.

To view photos and video of students teaching students about solar energy please visit http://community.pcds.org/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=1157 and click on either photos or video.

CONCLUSION

The Driving on Sunshine® concept was taught to the students in charge of this project in three meetings and they were able to run the installation and then teach other students about it. This proves that the approach is quickly understood and that solar arrays can be quickly and easily mated to a vehicle or a fleet of vehicles.  Students at PCDS are being well prepared for a world rapidly deploying alternative energy sources.