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Cove Creek installs solar array

A group of people applaud the ribbon cutting at the Cove Creek solar array

Cove Creek Principal Kelly Walker waves the ribbon as parent Grace Plummer wields the giant scissors at the solar array ribbon cutting.

Last year, Cove Creek became Watauga County’s second school to be recognized for its dedication to sustainability, earning a designation as a North Carolina Green School of Excellence. This week, with the help of dozens of community members, students at Cove Creek ensured that legacy would reach far into the future, holding a ribbon cutting ceremony for the school’s newest addition — a 5 kilowatt photovoltaic solar array.

Cove Creek worked to install the equipment with the help of NC GreenPower, a group that supports renewable energy carbon offset projects by providing grants for solar installations at K-12 schools across the state.

With the help of the SECU Foundation, Climate Voices US, Mast General Store, Haircut 101 and dozens of community members, Cove Creek students raised more than $14,000 to support the solar array’s installation at the school.

Beyond supplying the school with a portion of its power, the new solar array is also equipped with a weather station and allows for real-time monitoring of the system’s output and performance.

The system is designed with education in mind, its addition to the school is paired with curriculum-based content to help students learn how solar power systems are incorporated into the energy grid.

The school’s fundraising efforts also allowed for several Cove Creek teachers to attend NC GreenPower Solar Array Training to allow them to better teach students about the operation of the system.

Cove Creek Principal Kelly Walker thanked students, volunteers, donors and community members for the impact they’d had on the project.

“Students, thank you for being part of something bigger than yourselves,” Walker said. “Thank you for supporting Cove Creek’s environmental efforts through recycling and through your kindness toward our building, grounds, buses and each other. You will be responsible for for caring for this world after all of us here are gone. Thank you for caring for it now, as well.”