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East Jordan students raise $70k to put solar panels on their school

Sierra Dunlop


Since the start of the school year, a group of middle and high school students in East Jordan has been busy practicing presentations, raising money, and working with administrators to install a solar array on their school.

The idea came from a school club run by Matt Hamilton, a history and video production teacher at East Jordan Middle School/High School. 


After months of preparation, contractors started putting up panels last week. 


“They’re actually up on our roof, right now as we speak installing it,” Hamilton said. 


“We’ve been working every day since day one on this project — since the start of the school year. So I am so excited.” 


Thirty students helped with the project, which will generate 30 kilowattsof electricity — or just over 5 percent of the school’s annual use. 


“It’s amazing what a group of middle schoolers and a few high schoolers can accomplish,” said 10th grader Mailey Hamilton, one of the club’s advisors. “We raised $70,000 in one school year.” 


For Matt Hamilton, the project has inspired him to invest in solar on his own property too. 


“I’ve seen solar panels over the years, but it’s always been cost prohibitive,” he said. “Now it’s not. It’s becoming cheap enough for the average person.”

Lexi Krupp reports on science and the environment. Previously, she worked for Gimlet Media where she helped the Science Vs team distinguish what's fact from what's not. Her work has appeared in Audubon, Popular Science, VICE, and elsewhere.