20 Kilowatts by 2020: Earth Club’s Stunning New Initiative


Photo courtesy of West Bloomfield Initiative for Renewable Energy.

Pictured above: WBHS’s current solar array.

Lauryn Azu and Ari Felhandler

When it comes to green technology, West Bloomfield High School once again is leading the way. WBHS has pioneered a clean energy push with their current solar tracker, yet that seems to just not do the trick for this visionary, barrier defying school.

WBHS Earth club members are embarking on a new project this spring that according to Earth club member Jensen Hwa, “will be a win-win situation for our school, our district, our community, and most importantly, our planet.”

Earth Club members, under the guidance of former Michigan Science Teacher of the Year Mr. Joshua Barclay, are planning the installation of a solar array on the West Bloomfield High School campus in order to power a portion of the school using renewable energy.

This isn’t Earth Club’s first time taking up a task this size. In 2011, Earth Club members made it possible for WBHS to have the largest tracking solar array of any school in Michigan. Now that it’s 2017, their ambition has only skyrocketed as Traverse City High School has one-upped us with a larger solar tracker.

“We want WBHS to be the proud owners of the largest solar array of any public high school in Michigan, as well as be the first and only school to have the array acquired, designed, and installed by students,” said club member Ziri-canela Morales.

Local businessman Stefan Graf generously offered to partially donate a solar array system to WBHS, and since then Earth Club has been fundraising around the community to generate the remainder of the cost. According to Morales, “Mr. Watson has verbally committed to donating $1,000 to our cause, we have received a $5,000 grant from the WBEF after presenting to them.”

The Earth Club has already made great strides in achieving their momentous goal through relentless persistent fundraising, which has included numerous bagel sales and a two day Lodge fundraiser.

With such a colossal project, comes another mountainous challenge to overcome. The Earth Club must assemble the necessary funds to construct this technological masterpiece which could equate to $15,000 or $20,000. In order to cut costs and further enhance learning, Mr. Barclay and the Earth Club are hoping to involve STEAM, physics classes, and engineering classes all throughout the process. Mr. Barclay exclaimed, “The kids will learn the most by actually designing the system, figuring out how the wiring is going to work, and digging the posts in addition to observing the professional work done.”

Hopefully the hard work Earth Club members have put into this project over the course of this year will pay off in the long run. By this time next year, they remain optimistic that the efforts to install the solar array will be well under way.

In today’s world, efforts to reduce waste and energy are more important than ever. With projects like the solar array being implemented at WBHS, more students have the opportunity to learn the hands on skills they need to be leaders in the effort to curb climate change.

The Earth Club’s Lodge Fundraiser flyer set for June 8th.