By Elina Suri
If you happen to be flying over the roof of Winsor’s Lubin O’Donnell Center (LOC), you might see a massive span of about two-hundred solar panels glittering in the sunlight. Winsor’s solar panels are only the beginning of our community’s journey to reduce our overall carbon footprint and become more eco-friendly. The solar panel project began with the creation of the Planet Protectors Club.
Ms. Beebe, one of the English teachers for Classes II and III at Winsor, founded the Planet Protectors Club in 2019. Ms. Beebe shared that she was “thinking about some of [her] students who, over the years, had been expressing interest in the planet, and so [she] offered [Planet Protectors] in Fall of 2019 for the first time as a new environmental club for the Lower School.”
As the Lower School’s environmental club, Planet Protectors began brainstorming implementable ideas with gusto to make Winsor more eco-friendly and reduce the school’s carbon footprint. The efforts gave rise to the idea of installing solar panels. The community received the suggestion with enthusiasm as something that could have a significant impact on Winsor’s carbon footprint as well as something that was potentially feasible.
Installing the solar panels and ensuring their optimal function was an extensive process. Emeline Daley ’24 is a member of Planet Protectors and played a key role in the success of the project. She mentioned, “My mom has been really inspiring to me about being aware of environmental issues since I was young, and I jumped at the opportunity of being in Planet Protectors. I thought that it would be a really great chance to make a change.”
The first step was presenting to the Board of Trustees. The idea received great support and the proposal was approved by the school early on. The process of obtaining permits for the solar panels and the necessary capital for purchasing the panels took more time.
Eventually, the solar panels were installed in Spring 2022. March 13 was christened “Crane Day,” which was when all of the materials were transported to the roof of Winsor’s LOC. After Crane Day, the maintenance staff worked for over a month to assemble the solar panels. By May 2022, all of the panels were fully installed. They began functioning at full capacity over the summer and are currently producing approximately 33% of the LOC’s electricity every day.
Ms. Beebe expressed great pride in the Planet Protectors’ achievements, saying that her favorite part about the project was “that the students did this.” She also acknowledged the vital support the project received from Winsor’s Director of Facilities, Mr. Crompton. “He played an important role in the Solar Panel Project and this would not have been possible without him. He was such a big supporter of the project.”
As a finishing touch to their project, the Planet Protectors plan to implement a station at the front of the school where students can explore a birds-eye view map of the solar panel arrangement on the roof as well as see real-time data recording the energy production of the panels, among other special features.
The initiative and perseverance of the members of the Planet Protectors Club in seeing the solar panel project to fruition is an inspiration. It encourages the members of the Winsor community to engage in endeavors that lead to meaningful change.
Responses edited for brevity and clarity.