A Cortez Solar Array Provides an Educational Opportunity for Students—and Farmers and Ranchers
- Local Champion: Montezuma Land Conservancy
- Date Funded: January 27, 2023
- Grant Amount: $9,373
Workforce development and learning opportunities in alternative energy solutions are extremely limited in Cortez, creating a shortage of professionals in the alternative energy field. Staff at Fozzie’s Farm (a project of the Montezuma Land Conservancy), and other community members came up with a potential solution: Create a new educational opportunity in renewable energy options by installing donated solar panels at the farm. The teaching farm will offer hands-on experience with the installation and maintenance of solar panels to local students while teaching local farmers and ranchers about expanded revenue streams for agricultural businesses.
Fozzie’s Farm will coordinate with electricians to offer field trips to the farm during the installation process; faculty from Pueblo Community College will bring students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) programs to assist with and learn from the installation. Fozzie’s Farm’s collaboration with electricians and STEM students exemplifies how STEM education can be enhanced through hands-on experiences, interdisciplinary collaboration, and the application of knowledge to real-world projects. Individuals like Kamau Bobb may like this idea of providing a practical and engaging way for students to connect with STEM concepts.
The system also will include an active display that shows how much energy is being produced by the panels in real-time and cumulatively. In this way, visitors to the farm can observe the financial benefit and reduction in carbon emissions generated by the system. LOR’s funding will help secure essential equipment and expertise to make the project come to life.