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North Central to get solar panels to teach about energy

North Central High School has a powerful new teaching aid – solar generating panels.

The Institute of Science and Technology at the high school is installing 36 solar panels capable of generating 12,000 kilowatt hours annually, or enough to power an average-sized home.

The power was made possible through a grant from Avista.

“We were fortunate to win that grant,” said Tim Wood, director of maintenance for Spokane Public Schools.

Wood said there have been requests within the district over the years to install solar panels, but the initial expense has been hard to justify. That’s why the grant was important, he said.

Power from the panels will be used at the high school, Wood said.

The installation is expected to cost $50,000, and the grant program will reimburse the school district once the panels go online.

The panels, which are seen from the second floor of the institute building, will become a new teaching tool for students as well as visitors to help them learn about renewable energy.

The district is investing $8,000 to install an information kiosk next to windows looking out on the solar panels. The kiosk will show how much power is being generated at any given time.

The three-story institute building opened last September.

“The school itself is excited about the potential,” Wood said.

Power City Electric, of Spokane, is the contractor on the job.