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First school in Lawrence installs solar panels, generates power and learning

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Posted at 7:37 PM, May 17, 2024

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Prairie Park Elementary is the first school in Lawrence to install solar panels, and Friday the school celebrated the sustainable milestone.

Cromwell Solar installed 250 solar panels atop the elementary school roof in spring, and now, the panels produce 22% of the schools electrical needs.

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250 solar panels were installed at Lawrence's Prairie Park Elementary in the spring of 2024.

On Friday, the whole student body gathered together outside under the bright sun to learn about the impact of the school's solar panels.

“I learned that all the things on the roof give us power," Anne, a second-grader, said.

Cromwell Solar put it this way: The panels' environmental impact equates to 1,500 trees being planted — or — eliminates over 250 tons of CO2 emissions every year.

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Lori Greenfield, second-grade teacher at Prairie Park Elementary

Lori Greenfield has taught at Prairie Park for 24 years. She said the outdoor classroom provides new opportunities for her students.

“They can see their earth as a living, breathing, learning process," she said.

The district says the metal roof has a 50-year life expectancy, making the $240,590 project worthwhile. The district's General Fund and government incentives funded the project, according to the district.

Greenfield knows her students will take these educational experiences with them after graduating from Prairie Park Elementary.

“One of the goals is to instill life-long learners, and their curiosity as kids is what’s instrumental in getting them to that stage," she said.