NAMPA -- Solar panels are the newest addition at Idaho Arts Charter School. The school was given a grant for the solar panels through Idaho Power's Solar 4R Schools program and Bonneville Environmental Foundation. It is the first Canyon County School to be part of the Solar 4R Schools program.
Idaho Arts Charter School is the first school to use thin film solar technology. The solar panels are placed directly on top of the schools roof. Patti Best with the Solar 4R Schools program says the panels should produce enough energy to power one classroom for a year.
The amount of energy the panels produce is minimal when you look at how much energy the school uses. But Idaho Power says the project isn't about how much energy the panels produce but how much the students learn.
"The real purpose of this program is to educate the students and to get them excited about all the different technologies that are coming down the pipe," said Best. "These panels are a great way to get hands-on experience. They can really learn on a sunny day what do these panels do, on a cloudy day hey they are still going to produce a little bit of power and how does that compare. Maybe inspire them to say how do we make these panels better."
Principal Jacki Collins hopes the solar panels may inspire students to think of new technology or ways to improve the solar panels people already use.
"You give that to kids and their minds begin working and their creativity," said Collins. "So they go out and they start to think of different ways to use solar energy and different ways to create panels. That is where it all gets started."