Ridgewood High School

Your browser may not support display of this image.Ridgewood High School Solar Project Proposal

Students for Environmental Action (SEA)

By Victoria Pan

About SEA:

We are an environmental club that strives to promote green action within our community. With the launching of the Energy Conservation Initiative, we have established the goals of raising energy awareness to all students and faculty, serving as a model for other institutions in our efforts to improve our carbon footprint, educating others about this pressing environmental issue affecting our world today, and ultimately reducing as much of our school’s energy consumption as we can!

What we’ve accomplished (and hope to accomplish):

  • Turn Off the Lights (Dec. 23 – present)
    • This project aims to reduce a part of our school’s energy consumption through the acts of turning off all classroom lights on a weekly basis.
    • We designed reminder labels that were placed above all classroom switches.
  • Turn Off the Computers (Feb. 23)
    • The day before winter break, we were allowed to completely turn off the computers in all the computer labs.  Although that was only a one-time thing (the computers need to be kept on over the weekends), we hope to find a way to make this into a weekly process.
  • Recycling Awareness Program (March 12 – present)
    • We checked all classrooms to see if each had a recycling bin
    • We plan to upgrade the school’s recycling system by supplying all classrooms with necessary crates
    • Signs with a list of specific recyclables were placed above each crate.
    • Barrels with slots for paper recycling were placed in the hallways around the school.
  • Environment mural (March – present)
    • A mural was painted and placed on the ceiling (10 tiles) of the 3rd floor Chemistry wing.  It encompassed key concepts of the environment
  • SEA website (May – present)
    • Created to display SEA projects and ongoing progress.  Connected by link with RHS School Fusion website.
  • Solar Panel Project (Proposed)
    • See below for the plan and details

While our projects continue to flourish, we hope to look towards other areas of energy concern and discover even more solutions to reduce our carbon footprint.

Benefits of a Solar Panel System:

  • Ridgewood High School is the largest school and thus, the greatest consumer of electricity in the district.  We hope to improve our sustainability and serve as an example to other establishments in the community.

Your browser may not support display of this image. Environment:

  • “2.5kW system reduces CO2 emissions by the equivalent of  planting 1 acre of trees or a car driving 7,800 miles a year”
  • Produces clean energy without having to burn any fossil fuels.
  • No toxic chemicals or batteries
  • Saves electricity by drastically lowering transmission loss.
  • Keeps the building panels are on top of cooler by reflecting heat radiation.


  • “Offers an initial annual return on investment of 5-11%.” -Borrgero Solar
  • “Reduces Air-conditioning load by 10%” -Solar Electrical Systems
  • Amount saved increases every year as the price of grid electricity increases
  • Can make money over the summer when there is little to no use.
  • 30 year plus positive returns. Most systems come with 25 yr warranty
  • No need to ever purchase more electricity at peak hours again


  • Teachers at RHS will gain a valuable teaching tool, a true-to-life self-sufficient system that they can show to their students
  • Online Monitoring System could be used for certain math or science projects
  • Serves as an inspiration for those considering futures in the Green energy sector
  • Key office computers could be kept operating during blackouts
  • Encourages students to start other initiatives that will make our school and world a better place


  • Thomas Jefferson High School, Virginia. Students raised $40,845 for solar panels
  • Westlake High School, Westlake, California.  Students succeeded in raising funds for a 6.65 kW, 36 panel solar array
  • Over 27 Students for Solar School groups internationally, which RHS will join in the near future

And last, but not least…keep in mind how solar panels can be extremely advantageous if black-out days ever do occur again…

The Plan:

    1. Use Students for Solar Schools as a resource and support guide.
    2. Find a core group of people who are dedicated to the cause of seeing solar panels on their schools. These will be the people we will meet regularly to push our project forward.
    3. Get approval from the principal
    4. If necessary, present a plan to the Board of Education, the District Energy Manager, the Superintendent, etc.
    • a. Find out how many we are able to install, what type of kW system
    5. Talk to janitors about possibility of installations
    6. Get a price estimate for the system
    7. Gain support from the students and faculty by:
    • a. Making a petition
    • Your browser may not support display of this image. b. Putting up posters around the school
    8. Start local fundraising
    • a. Bake sale, coin drive, restaurant fundraiser, presenting to local business networking groups. pitch to local businesses, use funds from recycling, see if other student clubs are willing to donate.
    9. Apply for grants by the town and local corporations like
    • a. Village hall, Whole Foods, Amano, etc.
    10. Reach out to potential solar companies:
    • a. Local solar installer, SolarWorld USA, Sunpower etc.
    11. Use raised money to buy panels, inverters, monitor system


Thank you so much for taking the time to consider this proposal.  Saving energy is an important concept for the students of SEA, and we want to expand upon our knowledge of energy conservation as much as we can.  By installing solar panels on Ridgewood High School, not only are we taking one step closer to greening our community, but we are serving as a model for inspiration and the push for innovation.

Please feel free to contact us at any time.  We hope we will have the privilege of working with you and the school to achieve sustainability.

Co-president of SEA: Victoria Pan


Co-president of SEA: Kristina Hurley


Advisor: Anjali Shah


Ridgewood High School



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