WURTLAND, Ky., June 1, 2001 - Kentucky’s first school to install a solar electricity system as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative dedicated it today with a colorful fanfare of songs and distinguished speakers discussing energy and the system’s educational value.

Wurtland Elementary School installed the system through the Learning from Light! program, a cooperative effort of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), federal and state governments, local communities and other partners to help schools worldwide install solar energy systems and teach their students about energy resources. The solar system installed at Wurtland Elementary was funded by an Eisenhower grant and donations from AEP.

Wurtland Elementary, with approximately 316 students, is the first school in Kentucky to qualify for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative. Million Solar Roofs is a voluntary effort to increase use of solar energy systems and build market demand to improve the economy and the environment. Its goal is installation of 1 million solar energy systems in the United States by 2010. The U.S. Department of Energy is the lead agency for the initiative.

The solar energy system installed at Wurtland Elementary is a 1,000-watt system consisting of 20 50-watt panels connected and mounted on a pole. The system measures approximately 8.5 feet by 11 feet and is electrically connected to the school building and the electric grid. Internet-based, energy-management software developed by AEP, called DatapultSM, allows students, teachers and others to track the amount of electricity supplied by the solar panels and compare it with the school’s energy demand. They also can compare their supply and demand with other schools participating in the Learning from Light! program.

Enhanced math and science comprehension among students and increased understanding of the different ways of generating electricity and their impact on the environment are the desired outcomes of the installation and program, according to Timothy Mosher, AEP Kentucky state president.

“This system is an invaluable learning resource for the school and the community,” Mosher said. “It’s a springboard for understanding renewable energy and energy management and usage. Students, teachers and the public can go to AEP’s Learning from Light! web site to see how much solar power is contributing to a school’s electrical needs. They can determine how many solar panels, for example, it would take to keep the school running. This, in turn, helps them understand why it’s important for a school’s energy supplier, in this case AEP, to be able to use a variety of fuels to generate electricity.”

Speakers at today’s dedication ceremony :

  • Kentucky Lt. Gov. Steve Henry
  • James R. Powell, Director, Atlanta Regional Office, U.S. Department of Energy
  • State Representative Tanya Pullin
  • Bruce Williams, Deputy Secretary, Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet
  • Sheila Reeder, Superintendent, Greenup County Schools
  • Bobby Carpenter, Judge Executive, Greenup County
  • Donna Hayes, Mayor of Wurtland
  • Mosher

Organizations collaborating on the Learning from Light! program at Wurtland Elementary :

  • AEP
  • Greenup County School District
  • Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet
  • Kentucky Division of Energy
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • the Foundation for Environmental Education

AEP’s Learning from Light! program promotes solar power projects internationally and offers advice to communities on how to take a system from concept to finished product. Local energy providers, government agencies and environmental organizations can become partners. There are currently more than 70 Learning from Light! projects at schools in the United States and Bolivia.

American Electric Power is a multinational energy company based on Columbus, Ohio. AEP owns and operates more than 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity, making it one of America’s largest generators of electricity. The company also is a leading wholesale energy marketer and trader, ranking second in the U.S. in electricity volume. AEP provides retail electricity to more than 7 million customers worldwide and has more than $45 billion in assets, primarily in the U.S. with holdings in select international markets. Wholly owned subsidiaries are involved in power engineering and construction services, energy management and telecommunications.

Wurtland Elementary began educating students in 1962. Its mission is to provide every student with a quality education that enhances achievement in academic, social, cultural, and personal skills to enable each student to become responsible citizens. Wurtland Elementary provides a nurturing environment that is crucial to students’ health, attendance and academic success. The school embraces an eclectic student population and character education is a basic building block of the curriculum. Meeting the needs of its students brings the impetus to diversify the curriculum and facilities. The 2001-2002 school year brings the implementation of a foreign language component, Espanol para ti, in levels P1-Grade 5 and an extensive building renovation project.

Melissa McHenry
AEP Corporate Communications, Kentucky
502/545-7003 (mobile phone)
800/999-6710 ID 9954329 (pager)

Scarlet Shoemaker
Director of Public Relations
Greenup County School System

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