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Talent schools receive grant to install solar panels

Sep 13, 2023

Talent Middle School.

TALENT, Ore. -- Talent Middle and Elementary schools have secured a $1 million grant to install solar panels, making the schools one of the first community hubs for natural disasters in southern Oregon.

According to a news release from Rogue Climate, an organization dedicated to climate justice in southern Oregon, the grant comes from the state's Community Renewable Energy Program. Rogue Climate, The Phoenix-Talent School District, the City of Talent, Solarize Rogue and the Rogue Action Center all contributed to the project.

"The long-term vision for Talent Middle and Elementary School is to create a system where energy produced and stored on the campuses can be used to power the two schools, and in an emergency scenario provide days of backup energy," the release said. "The grant funding will go towards ground mounted solar and a battery on the middle school campus."

The designs for the project were part of the Energy Storage for Social Equity initiative, the release said, a program from the U.S. Department of Energy that helps communities use technology for energy resilience.

"Solar panels and battery storage will save the district approximately $13,000 a year in energy costs," the release said. "They will also provide TMS with about 500 hours of battery backup, which can be a resource for community needs like food and medicine storage, clean air, heating and cooling, and more during power outages."

The solar panels will be installed in a field behind the middle school's playground, the release said, and are expected to be completed by June 2024.

"This award of $1 million to the Phoenix-Talent School District is the beginning of seeing resilience hubs in Southern Oregon" Maeve Hogan, an energy resilience organizer at Rogue Climate, said in the release. "We look forward to this vision becoming a reality, and providing an example for other schools and institutions in Southern Oregon".

Izzie Lund is the digital content manager at NewsWatch 12. You can reach Izzie at [email protected].