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Starting in Fall 2021, students at North Fremont High School will have the opportunity to learn about careers in the energy industry using a solar panel and wind turbine at the school.

“It’s pretty important that we expose our students to as much of the business world as we can,” said Fremont School District 215 Superintendent Byron Stutzman. “Hopefully that’s where they go and become successful business people.”

The demonstration consists of a large solar panel and wind turbine. The school district held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the demonstration panel and turbine on June 24.

The school district held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the demonstration on June 24. Fall River Electric Cooperative Marketing and Public Relations Manager Ted Austin said the Bonneville Environmental Foundation provided a grant to help fund the solar panel. Fall River Electric and Fall River Helping Hands, a separate nonprofit, contributed funds to the panel and turbine, along with several individual community donors.

“We all know those forms of alternative energy production are growing. We want to make sure that the students that are graduating high school have a basic understanding of how they work and their advantages and disadvantages,” Austin said.

Renewable energy sources play a big part of Idaho’s energy consumption, according to a state analysis from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In 2019, Idaho generated 76% of its in-state utility-scale electricity from renewable energy, the third-highest share for any state, after Vermont and Maine.

Most of Idaho’s renewable electricity comes from hydropower, the administration reported. Hydropower and wind power fuel half of Idaho’s 10 largest generating facilities by capacity. About 14% of the state’s electricity net generation was provided by wind facilities.

The demonstration will likely be added as lesson plan to a science class, Stutzman said. The environmental foundation is also providing curriculum to North Fremont High School with the solar panel, which teachers can implement as they see fit.

“It’s a resource we have that we can show our students how power generation works and what we can do to create systems like this,” he said.

Austin said Fall River supported the curriculum and the effort for students to learn about both alternative energy sources and careers in the energy industry.

“It really encompasses both aspects of educating future consumers of solar and wind energy but also exposes students to potential career opportunities in the electric industry,” Austin said. “It’s a two-part effort.”