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NORTHAMPTON – The flip was switched earlier this week on Lander-Grinspoon Academy’s 147 solar panels. The school will immediately realize a decrease in their energy costs.

LGA principal Deborah Bromberg Seltzer led the entire student body, faculty and numerous parents outside on Monday morning, October 12, for a brief ceremony.

LGA’s Board Chair Becky Serlin, along with Rabbis David Seidenberg, Riki Kosovske and Jacob Fine (all current LGA parents), read a prayer acknowledging the impact of being mindful of how we treat our planet and what a mitzvah – good deed – it is to become less dependent on fossil fuels.

LGA solar 2

Board Chair Becky Serlin, left, along with Rabbis David Seidenberg, Riki Kosovske and Jacob Fine read a prayer during the ceremony celebrating the installment of the solar panels.

LGA’s Treasurer Blair Barondes, who was instrumental in arranging the solar array lease and installation, and his son Noah, a third grade LGA student, flipped the actual switch to the ON position at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

LGA does not currently own the panels but leases them from PV Squared, a worker-owned cooperative located in Greenfield. The school will have the option of purchasing the panels at different intervals over the next five, ten or fifteen years.

Should LGA decide to purchase the system, their energy costs would be reduced further and any additional power that is generated can be sold back to National Grid.

The solar panels reduce LGA’s carbon footprint exemplifying the school’s commitment to environmental consciousness and also realize significant savings for the school.

Equally important are the learning experiences for the students. The sixth grade class has undertaken a Project Based Learning unit on the benefits of solar energy. They received a lesson on how solar panels work from John Griese, a PV Squared staff person, and are working with Northampton Community Television to have a drone fly over the school building in order to get an aerial photograph of the panels. “These kids are very tech savvy and are quick to problem solve,” said sixth-grade teacher Becky Lederman. “Many were doggedly determined to understand the physics of how PV works, not just at a basic level, but down to the nitty-gritty details. Much of what John Griese of PV Squared spoke to us about I had been introduced to in college level physics. To give our students a chance to be experts on something that is new to all of us, myself included, and to learn alongside them has been incredibly fulfilling.”

CAP: Lander-Grinspoon Academy with its new solar panels.

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