FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 • KIDS & EDUCATION • THE QUEENS COURIER 33
Astoria’s P.S. 171 installs new solar power system
BY MAX PARROTT
Astoria’s environmentalist Councilman
Costa Constantinides began New York
City’s climate week by assuring a student
at P.S. 171 that she shouldn’t be discouraged
about having diffi culty in math
because when he was a student he struggled
“And now look — I’m the chair of
Environmental Protection Committee,”
The councilman joined with teachers
and administrators at P.S. 171 Peter
G. Van Alst on Monday to showcase
the construction of a solar panel grid
capable of powering half of the elementary’s
school’s energy consumption
Th e school is the fi rst of six in the district
that will receive solar panels within
the next two years. Th e installation of
the green infrastructure will teach students
about the impact of renewable
energy in addition cutting carbon emissions.
Construction began last month to
attach 516 panels onto the 9,000-squarefoot
rooft op space. Th e $1.5 million
project on P.S. 171 secured the funding
from the City Council’s capital budget.
“We need to prepare our leaders —
and our young people are going to be
our leaders — to combat climate change
as they move along in their school life.
Th ey are the ones who are going to
have to deal with the eff ects of rising
seas and climate change in general,”
Th e construction work is slated to fi nish
December, and the panels are expected
to be operational by the following
spring. Once up and running, the solar
panels are estimated to reduce the building’s
carbon emissions by 50 metric tons
of CO2 per year.
Science teacher Fred Salamone said
that he was already formulating plans to
use the new equipment in his instruction.
He said that his classes were already
building solar panels and using them to
power tiny motors. He’s also looking forward
to expanding his sustainable infrastructure
instruction with the use of
a grant-funded hydroponic science lab
that the school is building as well.
“When students come up to me and
ask me, ‘Oh Mr. Salamone, why do we do
this?’ I’ll come up here and show them
is exactly why we do the things we do in
the classroom,” Salamone said.
Th e Department of Education has
worked with environmental groups to
make sustainable energy a focal point of
its STEM education curriculum. Several
city agencies partnered to launch the
Solar Schools Education Program, which
trains teachers how to incorporate solar
infrastructure into their lesson plans.
“We will enhance our students’ learning
of clean energy by providing this
real world application to their science
knowledge,” said Lisa Stone, principal of
P.S. 171. “We are extremely grateful to be
working with our councilman to make
Astoria a clean energy place to live.”
Students and staff at P.S. 171 look over the construction of solar panels on the school’s roof.
kids & education