Trina Solar helped the New Orleans school reduce its carbon footprint with a solar power playground.

Trina partners with NRG to provide new solar power playground for New Orleans school

Empowering and educating the public by providing real-world demonstrations of the value of solar power remains a major goal for the solar industry. The more people and institutions witness the cost savings and environmental benefits associated with installing a solar system, the more receptive they are to this source of energy. This makes having a first-hand view of how solar panels generate power a tremendous advantage as the country transitions away from traditional fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

This drive to be responsible led Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Charter School for Science and Technology in New Orleans to seek out a way to reduce its carbon footprint. Although the school's students, teachers and administrators realized the need for a clean, renewable energy source, they did not have the resources to reach their goal. That's why in February 2013, Trina Solar partnered with NRG to provide solar energy to the school.

This joint venture – which also involved Sunora Energy Solutions, Global Green USA and officials from the lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans – came together to build a solar-powered playground at the school. The installation, which includes an open-air pavilion, utilizes a High Bay Solar Canopy steel structure containing the solar panels that covers the playground.

"In 2012, NRG donated $5.4 million to 700 organizations, so we know the importance of strong partners to the success of each project," said NRG President and CEO David Crane. "We have chosen to work with Trina repeatedly on community empowerment projects and the donation of high quality product and the project support that Trina provides make each project including the MLK Charter School a resounding success."

Project specs

The solar powered playground at the charter school features 397 solar panels, providing 112kW of renewable electric power as well as shade and shelter to students and teachers. In addition, the installation also features an outdoor classroom with a focal point consisting of a new irrigation system powered by the solar system using reclaimed water and educational elements.

"We are so excited and pleasantly surprised that we could have solar without having to go to a rooftop installation," Doris Hicks, the school principal, said. "The structure is so perfect and went up so quickly. It will prove to be beneficial for us financially and as a educational center piece well into the future."

This solar system reduced the school's reliance upon traditional fossil fuels by one-third during peak energy demand. By cutting energy costs by approximately 33 percent, the school can now reallocate these funds to other aspects of the curriculum and extracurriculars for the students.

"Partners like Trina Solar have been instrumental in supporting our work to foster a global value shift toward a sustainable and secure future and their generous donation to this project will make a difference for years to come here in the ninth ward of New Orleans," explained Mary Luevano, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs at Global Green.

Trina Solar is committed to providing cost-effective and clean sources of energy for residential, commercial and utility-scale projects around the globe.