By Luke Van de Walle ’19
Shining atop the roof of the Main Building, recently installed solar panels are yet another avenue of education for students here at Saint Ignatius. Forty solar panels were placed into commission, producing a maximum of 11.6 kilowatts per hour, which accounts for approximately 1% of the school’s total energy use.
In the Cleveland climate, the payback for these solar panels will take fourteen years. When speaking to Mr. Hendler of plant services, he talked of the educational opportunities. He said, “We aren’t doing this to save money. We are doing it more as an educational tool, it’s the right thing to do.” Mr. Hendler has teamed up with the Science and Math Department to make this vision possible, lead by Mr. Emancipator.
Mr. Hendler also spoke of the Pope’s advocacy for our responsibility to the earth: “Part of the Pope’s suggestion [is] that we take care of our planet, and this is a very small step for us.” Mr Hendler also recognized that, although the panels are not producing much power, there is an opportunity for the system of panels to expand. He said that there is plenty of room on the roof, and if a donor were to make it possible, more solar panels could be installed. Not only would they create more power for our school, but they would also take greater responsibility for our effect on the earth, responding even more effectively to the Pope’s encyclical, Laudato Si.