A Hope Grant for Project Independence

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Project Independence was a quest to put a 10kw solar photovoltaic system on Chisago Lakes Middle school. These 44 panels were to be fully funded by students and staff with no cost to the school. We began the process in 2008 when the world economy fell apart so our project began against great odds. Trying to raise $73,000 at a time like that was going to be difficult. We knew, however, that this project was so worth doing and would teach kids so many lessons about life, persistence and the importance of working through difficulties to make sacrifices to make the world a better place. !>http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5084/5347161570_0f277a73e7_m.jpg(Click to see larger image)!:http://www.flickr.com/photos/mncerts/5347161570/in/set-72157624917653369/ Our project had many ups and downs. It seemed like at our darkest moment, when it looked as if all our hard work might just not be enough, CERTs came to the rescue with a $5,000 SEED grant. I think the name SEED is appropriate for the name of the grant but for us it was a HOPE grant. The grant and the encouragement we received from CERTs came just at the most critical juncture and renewed us to continue the fight for something we believed in. The funding gave us leverage to seek out other groups that could help us since obviously others had less faith in what we were trying to accomplish. We had been told by funding sources who didn't believe we had a chance to pull this off, to "come back when you get closer to your financial goals". The CERTs funding allowed us to say "we're back..." and to help us make Project Independence a reality. CERTs is a wonderful organization of like minded people with the expertise to help you make dreams realities. The students at CLMS will walk underneath our gleaming panels for many years as they enter and leave our building. Hopefully these students will leave our building changed and will be part of the generation that makes solar energy mainstream and oil and gas the alternative energy sources.
Pat Collins
Science Teacher
Chisago Lakes Middle School

Minnesotans building a clean energy future

         

    CERTs Partners:

Minnesota Department of Commerce University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension Great Plains Institute Southwest Regional Development Commission