At Sandburg, with great solar power comes great responsibility

Carl Sandburg High school has taken small steps to a brighter future

Gavin Twomey, Features Editor

“Some people say that the climate crisis is something we have all created. But that is just another convenient lie. Because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame.” Greta Thunberg is one of the youngest and most influential climate change activists in all of the world. The cause of climate change is as relevant as ever today, and is one of the biggest problems the world is currently facing. Carl Sandburg High school took the initiative to change their energy sources and installed solar panels this summer. By funding these panels, Sandburg hopes to help fight climate change.

A major way to reduce the climate is to remove your Carbon footprint, but what does that mean exactly? The main solution is to use energy in a more efficient manner.

Everyday, although we may not realize, we detrimentally hurt the environment. Whether it is the way you get to work each and every day, or the way you cook your food, the environment is hurt as a result of these actions. By using our energy more efficiently, we can day by day hurt the environment less. The way to do that is by relying less on gas, and switching to solar energy.

Solar energy has become more and more common, and it is not hard to see why. Not only is solar energy much more environmentally friendly, but can be just as effective. Environmental Science teacher Mr. Corcoran was nice enough to meet with me about the plan Carl Sandburg has to utilize solar energy. It is first important to understand how the panels work. “The material in panels causes flow of electrons, making electricity. This is direct current, which uses wires that go to the power inverter. This turns to alternating current, which is how buildings use power.”

Mr. Corcoran also makes the point that having batteries that connect to the solar panels would be efficient as well. “Battery backups to the solar panel can store energy in order to utilize this energy in the evenings. They can also take energy from the grid during the evening to charge the battery backups, then take energy out of batteries to power school. In the evening electricity costs less, so charging them at night costs less to use that energy at night. Cuts electricity bill in half, and can be used anywhere.”

To clear confusion, these battery backups take the solar energy from the sun, and store it for cloudy days or night time. This way, if the sun is not out, there is no need to worry about not having electricity.

Another benefit to these batteries is the potential cost saving. Mr. Corcoran points out that electricity is actually cheaper in the evening than it is during the day. By using the energy from the grid and storing it in the backups, we can spend less money on electricity. The only downside is that the batteries not only take up a large amount of room, but they would also cost a lot of money. However, this concept is believed that because it saves so much money through more efficient energy, it would eventually pay for itself.

Now, the most pressing question, why should anyone care? How would switching to solar panels affect my math grade or how I do on an AP test? It would not. Every single person on this planet has harmed it in some way. Whether you notice it or not, the planet is changing, and not always for the positive.

For generations, humans have ignored this crisis that is dawning on us. It is because of these failures that we can gain hope. If all of humanity stopped driving cars and all factories were closed, yes, it would help to fix the climate. However, this is not necessary. If we change our everyday habits just a little, we can help prevent catastrophe.

Carl Sandburg has plans to one day hopefully be able to use the solar panels to power the entire school. However, this will take time and patience. Although it may be a while before this planet will run on clean energy, as master Yoda once proclaimed, “Patience you must have.”