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Solar canopy over Denver school parking lot will provide energy to low-income families » Yale Climate Connections

Students and teachers at Northeast Early College High School in Denver can now park their cars in the shade underneath a canopy of solar panels.

The school’s parking lot is home to one of the city’s new community solar gardens.

But these panels do more than keep the students’ cars out of the sun. 

Some of the clean electricity they produce will help low-income families in the school district lower their utility bills.

LeeAnn Kittle is the head of sustainability at Denver Public Schools.

Kittle: “What’s really cool about the project is that throughout all of their solar gardens throughout the city, a portion of that energy that’s produced is going to DPS families in need, so it’s going to offset their utility bills. … It’s supporting families and giving families that might not have access to renewable energy, access to renewable energy.”

Some families are expected to save up to $700 a year.

And students at the high school can learn from the project, too.

Kittle: “Students can go outside and literally see what solar looks like from the ground up.”

Kittle says it gives students a firsthand look at the growing clean energy economy.

Kittle: “It’s really an opportunity for the students to understand how solar works right there on campus and then be able to apply what they learned to their career path or college path after graduating at Northeast Early College.”

Reporting credit: Ethan Freedman/ChavoBart Digital Media

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