Sustainable Schools

Solar Panels Installed to Charge Student Cell Phones

Over the summer, Olathe West High School added solar panels over two picnic tables where students can charge their phones and laptops.

Over the summer, Olathe West High School added solar panels over two picnic tables where students can charge their phones and laptops.  

The solar arrays were installed by MC Power in front of the Kansas school. Each table has eight USB chargers powered by a large solar panel.

Each table has eight USB chargers powered by a large solar panel.

“The kids think it’s pretty cool to charge their devices with the sun,” Cody Janousek, Green Tech Academy facilitator, said to a local newspaper. “There are no wires coming out of the school to the charging stations, so it’s a bit of scientific magic to make it happen. Our phones don’t really use all that much energy, so I emphasize how cool it is to have the phones powered directly by the sun.”

The high school is one of the most sustainable high school buildings in the nation, according to their website. It’s already outfitted with enough solar panels to make their footprint net-zero in energy consumption, Janousek said.

The solar panels are outside of the Green Tech Academy, one of the 15 different 21st Century Academies available at Olathe Public Schools. The Green Tech program is hosted at the high school and teaches students about renewable energy and sustainability.

About the Author

Yvonne Marquez is senior editor of School Planning & Management magazine. She can be reached at ymarquez@1105media.com.