• 66°

Catching sunlight: Students design solar tree for West Rowan High School

MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan High School’s courtyard is full of students on sunny days. During Power-U and free periods, students grab a bite, study or soak up the sun.

The courtyard is something that students think is unique to the school.

“Most everybody here loves being outside,” student Zeb Burns said.

That made sophomores at West Rowan believe the school is a perfect location for a solar tree. The group is working to make that idea into a reality.

The idea of a solar tree, an artistic outdoor structure fitted with solar panels and outlets to charge phones and computers, is catching on. N.C. State University recently installed one, and student Mira White said that’s where she and her classmates got the idea.

White’s English teacher, Megan Parrish, brought up N.C. State’s installation, and the class discussed the possibility of building one at West. White and other students immediately took a shine to the idea.

“We were like, why can’t West Rowan have it too?” White said.

But after that initial pitch, Parrish and other teachers let the students take the reins. White’s English class is collaborating with two others courses — a pre-calculus class and an agromechanics class — to design and build the tree.

“No teachers did this,” White said. “It was all students.”

Together, the students came up with a design, then turned the plans over to pre-calculus students to draw blueprints. When the time comes to actually build the tree, the agromechanics students will step in.

“I think we all agreed that it would work if we all worked together as a class,” student Emily Gaskey said.

Once finished, the solar tree will sport two solar panels and have room for eight USB ports and four corded outlets. Students estimate that the total cost for construction will be between $20,000 and $25,000.

Students have reached out to local businesses for deals on materials, and the outlook is positive. Duke Energy donated two solar panels — the main expense White and others were worried about.

“Our biggest chunk of money was solar panels,” White said.

The group is still waiting to hear back about prices on metal and other materials, but the students are not kicking up their heels. White said the group has filled out one grant application and plans to do others. The students also are contacting local philanthropists.

Once complete, students hope that it will further encourage West Rowan High’s students to spend more time in the great outdoors — without fear of losing power.

Anyone interested in more information or interested in donating to help the project should contact Megan Parrish at Megan.Parrish@rss.k12.nc.us.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

Comments

Nation/World

Trump vows quick Supreme Court vote, Biden urges delay for Nov. 3

Nation/World

New rule may strip pollution protections from popular lakes

East Spencer

East Spencer draws crowd for annual community day

Elections

In Rowan’s legislative races, Howard, Warren get off to strongest start in fundraising

Business

From Navy SEAL to Medicare agent, Trent Waller looks to continue serving his community

Elections

In 13th Congressional District race, Budd, Huffman differ on government’s role in COVID-19 help

Local

Rowan County Telecommunications joins new state digital 911 system

Education

School board will consider scheduling public hearings for Faith, Enochville closures

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion makes donation to support racial equality and justice

Elections

Republicans rally supporters at Saturday lunch

Elections

Budd holds wide lead over Huffman in fundraising, cash on hand

Crime

UPDATED: 1 shot, 5 in custody after shooting at haunted house that attracted 1,000 visitors

Nation/World

Trump picks conservative Amy Coney Barrett to fill Supreme Court seat

Coronavirus

Deadly September propels Rowan County to 100 deaths from COVID-19

Crime

Highway Patrol charges man in hit-and-run after finding vehicle hidden in woods

Elections

NC elections board, Republicans at odds over absentee ballot rule changes

News

Voters struggling with witness rules in early voting

News

Trump expected to announce conservative Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

Coronavirus

County reports COVID-19 percent positive rate of 8%

Local

Rowan County United Way sets $1.5 million goal at drive-in kickoff event

Crime

Blotter: Adult daughters accused of beating up mother

China Grove

China Grove firefighters injured after truck overturns

Business

Salisbury VA to reopen entry, exit gates

Crime

Sheriff’s Office looking for suspect in Burlington Coat Factory theft