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After spending a day with 4th graders at Mundo Verde, I can confidently say it’s one of the most innovative elementary schools in Washington, DC. This bilingual school is the first green-focused charter school in the District, teaching all core subjects while additionally focusing on the importance of sustainability and the environment.

This spring, the students studied solar energy, and Arcadia was lucky enough to visit and hear about what they learned, plus provide some real world context for solar.

During our visit, we had the students spend the day as solar developers. We talked about what it meant to be a solar developer, and set up a few activities to help them evaluate the school’s roof, crunch some numbers, and figure out if Mundo Verde could go solar. Here’s a look at the students’ day as solar developers:

Activity #1

First, the students found their school on Google Maps and looked at the roof from a bird’s eye view. From there, students determined where Mundo Verde could and could not install solar panels.

mundo verde

Activity #2

Next, we looked at the path of the sun. This helped explain why the compass direction in which the panels are facing has a major effect on how much solar energy can be generated. The students learned that if panels are mounted at a tilt, then it’s optimal to have them facing South.

mundo verde

Activity #3

We then wrote letters to the school’s architect to find out more about the structure of the building, the size of the roof, the material used on the roof, and much more. Thanks to the great staff at Mundo Verde, the kids received a quick response:

Dear 4th Graders,

Thank you for your letters! I am excited to hear that you are thinking about installing __solar panels on our roof. Here are some things you should know about how the building was built before you make a decision on the design of the solar system.

The roof has 2 separate sections, La Casa and La Casita.  La Casa was built in 1925, but the roof was recently restored in 2014. This section of the roof is strong enough to support the weight of solar panels, but there are some air conditioning units and sections of the roof where a solar installation is not viable.

_La Casita was built in 2015, so the roof is only 2 years old. La Casita is strong enough to support the weight of solar panels. __Both sections are flat and are made of a rubber material. _

Good luck! __- Todd, Architect at Mundo Verde

Activity #4

Finally, the students crunched some numbers. Earlier, we had determined that Mundo Verde could feasibly put solar panels on three different sections of the roof. Now, students analyzed these viable sections and determined out how many panels could fit on each. Students were excited to discover that Mundo Verde has a solar-ready roof that can fit over 300 panels!

mundo verde

Thank you to all the teachers and students at Mundo Verde who welcomed Arcadia and invited us to teach your 4th graders about solar.

Do you have a shaded roof, live in an apartment or condo, or simply live in an area without a local solar market? Now you can subscribe to Arcadia’s community solar projects and save on your bills! Explore available solar projects and start saving today.

This post was written by Elizabeth Ozdinec, Customer Experience Associate at Arcadia.