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AHS, Silicon Energy turn Larson stadium 'green'

ARLINGTON — As part of the Snohomish County PUD's voluntary "Planet Power" green energy program, AHS has installed solar panels purchased from Silicon Energy on the John C. Larson stadium.

The Arlington School District applied for a grant, available through the PUD, to fund the majority of the cost for installation, which was performed by Arlington Electric.

"Not only will this project reduce our electrical consumption, but it will also be a valuable teaching aid for our students," said Sid Logan, executive director of operations for the Arlington School District, who touted the lower impact on the environment and the cost savings of the solar panels, in addition to the educational potential of the data they will yield.

Solar photovoltaic modules, such as those manufactured by Silicon Energy in Marysville, are a viable energy source in Washington despite the state's number of rainy and cloudy days, since the temperate climate actually helps solar perform better by keeping such systems cooler.

An eight-kilowatt solar array was added to the top of the stadium, with its last four modules installed on Monday, Nov. 5. Since the solar panels produce DC power, inverters will also be installed to convert the electricity to AC.

The energy generated by this system will be used on site, at the stadium or at the school, wherever electricity is needed, to reduce the energy costs for the district and taxpayers. The solar energy will be blended with the school's regular electrical source of power, since there are times, such as at night, when solar power isn't being produced.

The project includes the creation of an interactive Internet webpage to share and monitor the system's performance with students, families and the public. The PUD's goal is to choose high profile projects so that communities can learn more about renewables and solar photovoltaics.

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