Mayor lauds solar panels at JFK campus

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The John F. Kennedy Educational Campus is going green. 

On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio joined Bronx Theater Principal Charles Gallo and environmental studies teacher Danny Steiner, along with local politicians, to announce the completion of a solar panel installation on the roof of the building on Terrace View Avenue, which houses seven schools.  

The solar panels will provide five percent of the campus’ electricity needs, according to school officials. 

“[The campus] is setting an example for schools all over the city,” Mr. de Blasio said at a press conference behind the school building. “This is one of the places where you can see what the future looks like.” 

Currently, nine public school campuses in New York City, including the JFK campus, are outfitted with solar panels. An additional 24 schools will receive the panels as well, through a $28 million investment from the city and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

The mayor’s office estimated that panels at the 24 schools will reduce greenhouse gas output by more than 2,800 metric tons per year — the equivalent of taking over 600 cars off the road annually. The solar investment is part of Mr. de Blasio’s announcement that New York City will commit to an 80-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, based on data from 2005, by 2050. 

Students at the schools with solar panels will get a chance to learn about the science behind the installations, tracking the power each system generates through web portals. 

For Mr. Steiner, the Kennedy campus’ sustainability coordinator, the solar panels build on student and faculty efforts to increase their environmental consciousness and minimize their carbon footprints.

“To me, it’s a no brainer — you leave a room, you shut off the lights, shut off the AC,” said the educator, who has taught environmental science at Bronx Theater for the past 12 years. 

“We’ve been sending out harassing e-mails to teachers to make sure they shut off the lights,” Bronx Theater Principal Charles Gallo added with a laugh.

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