NYC Schools are Making Solar Roofs with Gardens Part of Their Curriculum

Solar roofs with gardens will soon be part of the NYC school curriculum.

Well, some schools, at least.

In a forward-thinking move, New York City will spend $23 million dollars to bring solar panels to 24 of the city’s public schools by next summer. The roofs will offer a hands-on science lesson for the students on climate change and alternative sources of energy.

The idea began in 2013, when teacher Vicki Sando started a rooftop garden. Fast-forward ten years, and add $2 million to the mix, and a solar roof was installed. The panels aren’t connected to the city’s power grid and don’t generate a ton of power – they’re there for the educational value.

“We made connections between plant study,” Sando told Capital New York. “Plants are little solar cells. I had my fifth graders take apart a solar calculator and show them how it worked. We don’t have a stand-alone curriculum on solar, but we’ll do projects where we’ll fold it into it.”

Considering that today’s grade schoolers are probably going to rely entirely on renewable sources of energy by the time they’re our age, it’s probably a good idea they become familiar with it.

The project’s first school – Staten Island’s P.S. 69 – began operation in April.

Of course, the initiative covers only a baby-sized handful of the city’s more than 1,800 public school.

But it’s a start – and perhaps something we hope that will catch on here.