Mt. Pleasant High School AOES

School Facts:

Mt. Pleasant Academy of Energy & Sustainability (MPHS AOES) is a public magnet school located right outside of Charlotte. As a four-year career academy, the school is affiliated with the National Academy Foundation (NAF) that targets students interested in engineering, energy and sustainability careers.

The NC GreenPower solar PV array goes hand-in-hand with the vision of AOES to be the Charlotte region’s most effective and efficient high school program.

The NC GreenPower Solar Schools grant program provides matching grants for 3-5 kW solar educational projects at schools, complete with a weather station, real-time monitoring, energy curriculum and training for teachers. Any K-12 school in North Carolina may apply for a 50% matching grant, up to $10,000, and NC GreenPower assists the school with raising the balance of funds required.

For our school story, we talked to Lyndon Westmoreland, Academy Coordinator, who described how the students are using the data produced by the system in the classroom. Lyndon also talked about the type of projects the school is envisioning with the new solar PV array.

Picture of Chavo Krenek from Sugar Hollow Solar teaching upper-class students about the new solar panel system.

NCGP: In your initial application, you stated that MPHS AOES will pursue the possibility of setting up a monitoring screen in the school’s common area. Are you still planning to go forward with these plans? How do you hope your students will benefit from interacting with the monitoring system in general?

Lyndon: The process to get our solar panel system connected to Wi-Fi for monitoring purposes has been a challenging one but we are now officially up and running.  I have spoken with our school’s Technology Facilitator about helping us get our “Current Power Gauge” visible on our school’s home page. She is currently investigating the possibilities. This will help us bring a school-wide awareness of and generate questions from our student body about solar energy and our Academy. 

We also plan to use our AOES Ambassadors (student advisory board) to inform and teach our Academy students about the monitoring process and how we can better benefit from natural energy resources. The student ambassador’s solar monitoring report will also be included in their (soon to be) monthly YouTube channel Academy updates, which will allow our students to reach more people in the Mt. Pleasant community.

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

Lyndon: Though it took some time to get the solar panels connected through our Wi-Fi, students are now able to monitor our solar panel system through the internet. We have created a link for the students to use to get to the site and have shared this information with our upper-class students. They are very excited to be able to view the status and usage live. 

We know that the system is producing around 3% of our school’s energy, but the students are now wanting to take this information and calculate the usage by classrooms.  We are fortunate to have a Cabarrus County Schools Facilities Management person on our advisory board.  The students are hoping to use CCS Facilities Management to acquire our schools monthly energy data.  This will allow the students to determine how many or how much of a classroom’s energy is being produced from our solar panel system.