City Light Staff Help Third-Graders with Solar Energy Project

Renewable Energy Outreach Coordinator Jack Newman meets with third-graders at John Stanford International School in Wallingford.

Seattle City Light employees met with third-graders at John Stanford International School in Wallingford recently to discuss the students’ project related to global warming and climate change.

While City Light gets 90 percent of its electricity from clean, renewable hydropower and the utility has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, worldwide production of electricity from coal- and gas-powered plants is the leading contributor of carbon dioxide emissions.

At the Stanford school, teacher Margie Butcher challenged her students to propose a strategy with the aim of addressing this concern. The strategy the students picked was to support the installation of solar panels.

Jack Newman and Suzanne DuRard from City Light’s Conservation Resources Division met with the class to discuss the utility’s clean energy fuel mix, renewable energy programs and recently completed solar energy projects, including Community Solar and Sonic Bloom. Students also asked about state financial incentives for the installation of solar panels; the economics of installing solar panels at your home or business; and the challenges of maintaining the electricity distribution network as more people generate their own solar electricity.

“The students were very alert, with each group’s selected note-taker thoughtfully recording notes throughout my presentation,” Newman said. “It was an honor to talk with and learn from such engaged 3rd graders. I am proud of their focus to support renewable energy in Seattle.”

With residential solar installations on the increase, Seattle City Light’s customers are eager to learn more about renewable energy and how their utility will position itself in the new landscape of distributed generation. Jack Newman’s work as renewable energy outreach coordinator serves as one response to this growing demand for solar energy education and community engagement. As the Nation’s Greenest Utility, Seattle City Light is learning every day about the community’s interest in renewable energy, which was highlighted in the John Stanford International School’s solar energy student projects.