Woodside Priory’s stated mission is “to assist students of promise in becoming lifelong learners who will productively serve a world in need of their gifts.” Priory students Chase Haegele and Mike Mellenthin got a head start on that mission in 2006, when they researched and proposed a plan to install solar panels on the private school’s campus in the Bay Area.
Heeding the Rule of St. Benedict’s guidance to protect resources with care and consideration for the world, the Priory’s leadership decided to move forward with the project, and selected SolarCity to design and install the multi-building solar systems.
“Tending to environmental issues is the natural nexus between faith and reason, and between humans and creation—a position we prize highly at the Priory,” says Tim Molak, Woodside Priory’s Head of School.
Solar panels now span the Priory’s monastery, dorm and classroom buildings, in what is the largest solar installation by any private high school in the Bay Area. SolarCity also installed its PowerGuide monitoring system, which turns the solar arrays into a teaching tool, enabling students and faculty to monitor the system’s production and environmental impacts, such as carbon offset and pollution reduction. Woodside Priory and SolarCity created a public link to the solar systems’ production on the school’s website.
“The solar systems have inspired our students to learn more about some of the greatest environmental challenges of our time, and they’re cutting our electricity bills in half,” says Molak.”Solar has been a great decision for us on a number of different levels, and more schools should consider doing it.”