Several schools along the Hi-Line are taking part in a program to add solar panel laboratories at their buildings.
Under a program funded by NorthWestern Energy, the schools will build solar system that will be used to lower the electric bills of the schools.
So far in our area, C-J-I has a system installed and Chinook and Rocky Boy are scheduled for the projects, while Box Elder, Big Sandy and Harlem have applied for grants.
While the savings on power bills will be beneficial, that pales compared to the real benefit of the program. It will be an educational opportunity for the students at the schools.
Hopefully, the project is another reminder to students that during their lifetimes, use of renewable energy has to be considered in every building project.
Montana is fortunate in that we have the ability to tap into virtually every kind of energy — coal, oil, natural gas, solar and wind.
Fossil fuels are in the mix for as far as the eye can see, but scientific evidence is mounting that continued use of fossil fuels holds the potential for a rapid escalation of global climate change.
Doubtlessly, the actions of C-J-I and other districts will be met with yelps of protest from hysterical climate change deniers. The schools, we trust, will have the sense and the strength to fight back, keeping students and the future of the planet in mind.
Schools ought not be afraid to teach students there are alternatives that have got to be considered.
Now, use of solar and wind power is subsidized by corporations and state and federal governments, but experts say that in future years, they will be self-sustaining.
Projects such as those undertaken by Hi-Line schools are a step toward making that day come faster.