Solar array at Lowcountry school dedicated

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP/WCIV) -- A dedication ceremony was held for a solar power array at a Lowcountry school.

Charleston County School Superintendent Nancy McGinley and other school officials joined representatives of Santee Cooper and the Berkeley Electric Cooperative at Haut Gap Middle School on Tuesday morning.

The school has a new solar array mounted on a pole that is already producing energy from the sun.

"While our main goal at Berkeley Electric Cooperative is to provide affordable power to our members, we want to do it in a way that also safeguards the environment," said Dwayne Cartwright, CEO and president of Berkeley Electric Cooperative. "That is why we are strong supporters of the Solar Schools program, which will provide the students of Haut Gap with a great educational opportunity to learn about renewable power. This program will provide the students with a hands-on learning experience that will teach them about solar energy and how to use energy wisely."

Besides making electricity, the solar panel will be used to teach students about the opportunities and challenges of developing solar technology.

"Practical renewable energy and energy efficiency play important roles as we work to meet the future electricity needs in our state," said Jim Brogdon, Santee Cooper's executive vice president and general counsel. "With programs like Green Power Solar Schools, we can challenge tomorrow's leaders to think critically about these energy sources and how they might benefit future generations."

Santee Cooper and the state's electric cooperatives have partnered to install Green Power Solar Schools in 28 electric cooperative territories across South Carolina. Haut Gap Middle is the first school in Charleston County to be a Green Power Solar School.

"This is an exciting learning opportunity for our students. On behalf of Charleston Schools and Haut Gap Middle School faculty and staff, we commend Berkeley Electric Co-op and Santee Cooper for allowing our students the opportunity to learn about solar energy through inquiry-based instruction and research," said Dr. Nancy McGinley, superintendent of Charleston County School District. "With hands-on, practical learning, we're better preparing our students for the future."