“Who can raise their hand and tell me how many solar panels are out there?” Erica Bjelland, a Program Development Specialist with the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, poses the question to a group of students at the Pine River-Backus Elementary School. A room full of hands shoot up in the air, “2,224”.
Erica’s organization in partnership with the Region Five Development Commission recently helped the Pine River Backus School District install a 660-kilowatt solar array on their school grounds, which produces enough energy to power 104 homes annually.
“Today’s youth are making tomorrow’s energy choices.” says Erica. “They are going to be not only the next solar workforce. They will be installing solar on their homes and seeing a lot more solar in general.”