Benton Elementary receives grant for solar panels

Monday, September 30, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:47 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 30, 2013

COLUMBIA — Benton Elementary will add solar panels to its roof this year.

The STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — school received a $5,000 grant from the UPS Foundation, the philanthropy for UPS Inc.

Benton principal Troy Hogg said the plan is to have the solar panels up by mid-November, pending approval from the city.

"Hopefully, they will be up before Thanksgiving," Hogg said. "That way they will be generating electricity while we are gone for break."

The grant money will be used to buy solar panels from Columbia solar contractor Dogwood Solar. The company's owner, Dan Shifley, said six panels will be placed on the school's roof.

"We are doing this so that we can lessen our carbon footprint," Hogg said.

Dogwood Solar will also place a non-functioning, hands-on display of a solar panel near the school's playground for students to look at and learn about, Shifley said.

"We want students to understand and see the technology behind solar panels," Hogg said.

The Columbia Area Career Center is the only other facility in the Columbia Public School District that has solar panels, district spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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