For Release: 09/26/2012

WPS Foundation's "SolarWise for Schools" Program Wins National Award

Green Bay, WI - Wisconsin Public Service Community Foundation's SolarWise® for Schools program has been awarded the 2012 Best Green Power Education Outreach Program Award from the national Center for Resources Solutions (CRS) at their annual awards recognition banquet in Washington DC. CRS co-sponsors the annual Green Power Leadership awards with the US Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA).

"We are very excited to receive this national award and the recognition that comes with it," said Michael Moore, SolarWise Program Manager. "What is more exciting is the impact we've had on the thousands of students and their teachers that now have practical knowledge and hands-on experience producing electrical energy from the sun."

SolarWise® for Schools is the only program in the country that provides a functioning photovoltaic system to each school, provides a complete curriculum, trains the teachers in the program and hosts an annual student competition for participating SolarWise schools.

To date, 75 percent (48 of 63) high schools located within the electric service area of Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) are participating in the WPS SolarWise® for Schools program.

Each school is provided with a 2-kilowatt solar electric system valued at $30,000 installed by local technicians. Most are on school rooftops. The photovoltaic system consists of ten rooftop panels that measure about 2' by 3' in size and includes an installed inverter, a data monitoring system and access to internet viewing of the data, all wiring connections, a racking system to mount the panels along with an agreement that WPS maintains the system for 15 years.

Each school is provided with an extensive renewable energy curriculum that is updated to cover current issues and has applicable lesson plans that teachers use in addition to their regular curriculum. The lesson plans give teachers and students hands on experience in working with solar energy and conservation concepts.

Each school is invited to participate in the WPS Solar Olympics held each spring at a University of Wisconsin campus. There are 11 events that students compete in. The one-day event is the culmination of hours spent by students applying what they have learned into inventive entries that reflect a genuine interest in solar energy. The level of entries demonstrates that SolarWise® for Schools is a program that challenges students to understand the importance of renewable energy and gives them the technical background to apply their knowledge.

The national CRS award given to the SolarWise® for Schools program recognizes effective and unique outreach programs that focus on education related to green power. CRS gives out four annual Green Power Leadership Awards. Electric generating utilities of all sizes from across the country applied for the awards.

Currently, about 2,700 WPS electric customers contribute voluntarily to the Foundation to partially fund the program. These tax deductible donations, along with federal and state grants, allows WPS to continue the program and typically add two schools every year. The donations are used to purchase, install and maintain these photovoltaic systems.

About the WPS Community Foundation

The WPS Community Foundation is a private, not-for-profit charitable organization providing information and options for renewable energy. Through SolarWise® for Schools and the annual Solar Olympics, the Foundation actively works to preserve our environment for our children and our grandchildren. Contributions to the Foundation are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

About Wisconsin Public Service Corporation

Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE: TEG), is an investor-owned electric and natural gas utility headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It serves approximately 439,000 electric customers and 318,000 natural gas customers in residential, agricultural, industrial, and commercial markets. It also provides electric power to wholesale customers. The company’s service area includes northeastern Wisconsin and an adjacent portion of Upper Michigan. Additional information is available online at www.wisconsinpublicservice.com.

For More Information, Contact:

  • Michael Moore
    Sr. Renewable & Product Services Consultant
    Wisconsin Public Service
    920-433-5530
     
  • Media Hotline
    800-977-2250