By the time it is built, Walla Walla High School’s science building will generate its own clean, renewable power, thanks to a $100,000 grant from Pacific Power’s “Blue Sky” renewable energy program, Walla Walla Public Schools officials said Tuesday.

Blue Sky is a program giving Pacific Power customers options to voluntarily pay a little extra on their bill each month that the company, according to its website, then uses to help develop small-scaled energy projects in the communities it has a presence in.

In Walla Walla, the grant will pay for the installation of solar panels at the science building. Construction is expected to get started this fall as part of last November’s voter-approved replacement bond measure.

The setup will defer about 5 percent of the annual power consumption used by the Wa-Hi campus, and help offset approximately 33.9 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

That’s equivalent to 3,819 gallons of gas, 78.6 barrels of oil consumed or 4.3 million cellphones charged per year, officials with Pacific Power told school district officials.

“By generating our own electricity, we’ll save on energy costs, allowing us to dedicate more of the school district’s budget to our core vision of ‘Developing Washington’s Most Sought-After Graduates,’” Superintendent Wade Smith said in a news release.

“This solar project is not only a win for the environment but will also provide an interactive learning tool for our environmental science classes and students interested in renewable energy careers.”

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322.

Sheila Hagar has written for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin since 1998. Sheila covers education in the Walla Walla Valley. She also writes a column, Home Place, usually highlighting family life and slices of local life.

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