by Julia Ann Friedman
When Aris Wind Company approached Peter Quartironi, Director of Facilities for the public schools of the Tarrytowns, about installing wind and solar dual units on school property, he jumped at the opportunity. Quartironi and Christopher Borsari, Superintendent of the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, knew that utilizing wind and solar power would be highly beneficial to the school and to the environment.
The district bought two units for $15,000, and that initial investment is the only investment; there will be no yearly fees. The units consist of a 30-inch wind turbine on top of a 30-foot pole. The bottom has a two-foot by three-foot solar panel. Both energy sources store energy in four rechargeable batteries located in the pole. The wind turbine gets good wind every day because of the wind coming off the river. The wind turbines also provide a light for the areas in which they are placed.
The first unit was placed at Washington Irving Elementary School (W. I.), and the other unit at Peabody Preserve. These units give the bleachers and fields light, and serve as charging stations for PAs and phones. Quartironi said eventually the district would also like to put a unit at the high school field.
Some W.I. teachers spoke with the power company, and learned how these units work, in order to gather teaching material. Their goal is to use the solar/wind power units as a teaching tool for students to learn about renewable energy sources. For example, they ordered a book called The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Teachers have been reading and discussing this book with the students.
Challenge/enrichment teacher Elisabeth Hickey said, “We are looking to incorporate this more and more into our classrooms as a whole, as it is an interesting resource for learning. Third grade classrooms are planning on looking at it for their electricity units. This fits in well because students can see how the storage of solar and wind potential energy can be converted directly into kinetic energy as it charges up their devices.”
The use of alternative energy at W. I. and at Peabody is not only cost effective for the town, but it is also much better for our environment. Hopefully, more and more people will see these other energy sources and be inclined to install them at their own homes or businesses. Students will come to understand and appreciate the uses and benefits of alternative energy sources. The next generation will be inspired to take a step in the right direction in terms of limiting our contributions to polluting the earth.