Northport Public School Senior Develops Solar Energy Plan School is Now Implementing

A Northern Michigan school is investing in solar energy, and it was all the idea of a senior student.

Caleb Brown has a passion for green energy.

He used his senior class project to develop a plan for the school that they’re actually implementing.

Caleb developed an interest in solar energy after seeing his grandparents use it at home.

Now, his plan is going to affect future Northport students for years to come. 

“It’ll be like the biggest senior project in the school’s history basically and it will keep working after I’ve graduated for years,” said Caleb, who just graduated from Northport Public School.

Caleb will certainly leave his mark on Northport Public School.

“You have to have a paper, then a product and then the presentation. Mine is kind of in a different order.”

Caleb found some mentors and spent all year working with them.

The experts in the field of alternative energy helped him develop a plan to install a solar-tracking panel array right outside the school.

“They’ll be saving about $1,400 per year," Caleb explains. "The system is a seven kilowatt system. So it’ll be harnessing about 3% of the school’s energy, giving back about 3% of the school’s energy bill.”

After several presentations to the school board, Caleb secured $16,000 from the school.

The Leelanau Township Community Foundation gave $12,000.

Now, the school is looking for a contractor to do installation.

“We’re really hoping to have the project completed by the end of the summer, start of the school year,” said Superintendent Chris Parker.

The school’s investment will have paid for itself in about 20 years.

Teachers will use the panels as a tool to help with lessons in math and science, and it will be a shining example of what hard work can do.

“I think it’s a really important, authentic thing for kids to see in terms of their learning. You can really apply the things we’re asking you to learn in the classroom.”

Caleb will attend Grand Valley State University in the fall and likely study engineering.