This is a story that I’ve been meaning to write about for quite some time now. It’s about a project I’ve been working on since my Junior year of high school. It started out as the lofty goal: to successfully push my school district to procure solar panels. This would theoretically save money, save energy, and save the environment — what else could a 16 year-old ask for, right? A girlfriend? Some beer? Nah, I wanted to see solar panels all across my district.
Since I’d like to focus this story on empowering you to make a positive change in your community, I’m going to share the key points I’ve learned through my experience — the important points that allowed me to catalyze the solar project in my hometown: Benicia, California.
To make a long story short, I brought together a group of local students, teachers, and community members to stand behind the initiative after returning from a Sustainable Summer trip in Ecuador. Together, we researched the economic benefits of solar, spoke at board meetings, and met with board members and the Superintendent on several occasions . Four years later, I’m happy to say the district has constructed a 5.5 million dollar solar project spanning across multiple schools in Benicia. According to the district’s data, the project will yield a net savings of over 5 million dollars for the district over the project’s 25 year lifetime.