Harlem Schools install solar panels

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MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WIFR)- - Five out of the 11 schools within the Harlem School District are installing solar panels to collect the sun's energy and power the lives of their students. They want to reduce their carbon footprint.

"We are in the installation process right now. So, we have rooftop systems that are being installed currently at Ralston Elementary, and Harlem High School. We have ground mount systems being installed at Olson Park Elementary, Machesney Elementary and the Hoffman Campus,” said Jason Blume, with the school district.

He says they wanted all schools to have cleaner energy but, for some, it's not possible.

"Part of it is space, part of it is the roof condition. It is impacted by the location of trees and obstructions and that kind of stuff,” said Blume.

Administrators say this clean energy comes at no added cost.

"We pay a reduced rate for our electricity so over the course of the next 20 years we should save roughly $500,000-$600,000, potentially more than that,” said Blume.

These solar panels come with an energy curriculum. Students will be able to monitor and study how the panels work through a kiosk in the schools.

"The kids have been asking so many questions about what it is and what it will be used for and I think that provides so many opportunities,” said Shannon Rice, assistant principal at Olson Park Elementary.