Members of Highline High School’s Environmental Club got the official green light last week to proceed with their plan to build a 100-kilowatt solar array on the roof of the school’s new building in Burien, marking a major milestone in the student-led renewable energy project.
The array’s 252 solar panels are scheduled for installation in September, the students announced at an online briefing Saturday, Feb. 5, with a ribbon-cutting event planned around the start of 2022–23 school year.
Dozens of solar panels will eventually cover the roof of Highline High School’s new building in Burien under a student-led plan to build the largest solar-power system ever at a South King County public school.
Installation of the project would occur next year if the project meets its January 2022 fundraising deadline. Once complete, the 100-kilowatt solar array would not only produce clean electricity but also provide experiential, STEM-based learning opportunities for students, who could monitor the system’s flow of energy in real time.
In addition to seeking public grants and funds from private foundations, the students are also gathering individual donations through the Highline Schools Foundation. A related GoFundMe campaign launched earlier this year described the project as “living proof that solar energy is attainable in any neighborhood, even those with modest per capita incomes. And YOU will help us get there!”
The idea began with a question last summer from then-Highline senior Nha Khuc, who was in the midst of an environmental internship through King County. What would it take, Khuc asked one of the professionals she met in the program, to put solar panels on Highline’s new roof?