Ewan Woolcock
The OHS Press
Okemos HS
1st Place
Division 2, News Writing
Online Follow-Up News Coverage

Solar panels now power ten percent of Okemos High School’s energy.
In June of 2015, former Okemos student and Earth club president Miles Bolton, Dave Chapman (Science) and Steve Lathrop (Director of Operations) began thinking about the possibility of adding solar panels to Okemos High School.
“An alum came back to say hello to Mr. Chapman and he offered to evaluate our roof for solar [panels] because he works in the business. I heard about it and picked up the project from there,” Bolton said.
Over the summer of 2016, a team from Michigan Energy Options (MEO) did a walkthrough of OHS and collected data for an energy audit, a report that determines the building’s efficiency and makes recommendations on how to save energy in the future.
The team from MEO determined that the building’s roof angle and design is optimal for solar panels.
Bolton, Chapman and Lathrop worked together to raise funds for the project.
“It will actually save money and it’s all funded through grants, so it won’t cost the district anything,” Lathrop said. After the school board approved of the project, installation began the beginning of July 2017.
“The [school board] was very enthusiastic and pleased that all of the money is already raised,” Chapman said.
This project not only helps with increasing renewable energy in the area but also helps the district out.
“It generates electricity that then is fed into the grid and so we get a credit that reduces the amount of electricity we take off of the grid,” Chapman said.
This credit goes into the school’s income and is incredibly profitable over the summer when the building is not in use but the solar panels are.
Students like Andrew Baek (12) are glad the new solar panels are in place.
“I think it’s a good step forward, a lot of this new world is based on how well we adapt to technology and I think it’s a good step towards a cleaner world,” Baek said.