Corbin High School’s Red 95.3 FM goes solarDecember 17, 2012 by clackey
For its innovative solar-powered radio station, Corbin High School won the PRIDE Environmental Education Project of the Month Award for December 2012.
In mid-November, solar panels were installed on the school’s roof to power the 100 watt transmitter of WRHR Red 95.3 FM, which the school operates for the Corbin community. The panels are fully operational and have powered the transmitter without interruption.
The solar panels were purchased with a $10,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission. Mark Daniels, Director Pupil Personnel/Grants for Corbin Independent Schools, applied for the grant three years ago, but installation was delayed due to renovation at Corbin High School, according to Dave Colvin, station manager and teacher.
The project was designed to demonstrate to students how solar power works and how it can be used in business operations. The high school faculty members also plan to integrate the solar panel into the science curriculum.
In the CHS Audio Production class, students produce news, weather and sports programs, as well as commercials, for the radio station, which operates continuously and plays a variety of music. Five students participate in the class each trimester.
“We looked into it, and we found that this is the only known radio station east of the Mississippi assisted by solar power,” Colvin said.
“Due to the uncertainties of Kentucky weather, there is electricity back up,” Colvin explained. “Battery cells store the power generated by the sun. If the batteries deplete to a certain level, then the school’s electricity takes over, running the transmitter and recharging the batteries.”
“On behalf of PRIDE, I want to commend Corbin High School for giving students the chance to observe solar power first hand,” said Mark Davis of PRIDE, the nonprofit organization that promotes environmental education and cleanup in southern and eastern Kentucky.
“It’s good to learn about alternative energy sources so students can make informed decisions about them, perhaps making them better qualified for job opportunities down the road,” Davis said. “Energy is such a hot topic right now, and I’m sure it still will be when these students are leading our communities and businesses.”
“Of course, the transmitter runs 24/7, so solar power is going to save the school money on its electricity bill, and we all are looking for ways to cut costs,” Davis added.
The PRIDE Environmental Education Project of the Month Award rewards creative, effective ways of promoting environmental awareness and stewardship. PRIDE presents one award each month to a school within the 42 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky.