Solar+ Schools Spotlight: Lake Lure Classical Academy

January 22, 2022

For this week’s featured school, NC GreenPower chatted with Tom Keever, Executive Director of Lake Lure Classical Academy. Located in Lake Lure, the school is a K-12 public charter school with a passion for sustainability and experiential education. Bringing on this school was a slew of firsts for NC GreenPower: It was the first school to already have $10,000 in grant funds set aside for a solar installation before applying for our grant, the first to be selected from Rutherford County, and the first whose efforts were student-driven rather than from an educator or administrator. Senior Tanner Riley approached faculty member Ryan Lubbers about applying for the Solar+ Schools grant for his senior project.

From the beginning, it has been clear that the entire school community is full of zest and eagerness to bring renewable energy to its students. Tom shares, “We believe in the value of sustainable energy now and for the future. We wanted our students and school community to have access to the data this project will generate as an example of the possibilities and the practicalities of solar energy.”

The NC GreenPower Solar+ Schools program provides grants for 3-5-kilowatt solar educational projects at schools, complete with a weather station, real-time monitoring, STEM curricula and training for teachers. Any K-12 school in North Carolina can apply.

Here’s our interview with Lake Lure’s Tom Keever:

NCGP: What kind of sustainability efforts are present at the school?

Tom: We have surveyed the number of energy-consuming devices in our building with the intention of creating policies and strategies to reduce consumption. We have created a local high school science elective, “Ecosystems of the Hickory Nut Gorge,” which has a component on energy sources and their impact on the environment.

NCGP: What type of reactions have you gotten from students about the installation? Are they excited to learn about the solar array?

Tom: Our students and staff are very excited. Our students see a sustainable, earth-friendly future as they pass the solar array when arriving at school every morning.

NCGP: How has the community been able to plug into this project?

Tom: This is a next step; we have shared the project purpose and goals with the greater Lake Lure Community. We plan to have Sugar Hollow and other solar experts participate in a community education forum sometime next school year.

Interested in getting solar for your schools? Learn more here!