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Princeton Montessori School in Monty Goes 90% Solar

October 12, 2022

Princeton Montessori School, located on Cherry Valley Road in Montgomery, is pleased to announce that its campus is now powered primarily by solar energy. After a year-long process, including research, procurement and installation, the school - which serves approximately 200 students from infancy through 8th grade - flipped the switch to solar last month and is proud to be getting 90% of its energy from the sun.

“Over a hundred years ago, Dr. Maria Montessori emphasized the importance of humanity’s relationship with nature and the need to educate children to be a positive force of change in the world,” said Michelle Morrison, Head of School. “We are so proud to be modeling these values with our transition to solar energy and we are excited to do our part to contribute to a better world.”

From left: Ecology Teacher Gery Juleff (also sustainability coordinator); Green Power Energy VP of Marketing Andrew Contrino, Head of School Michelle Morrison, and Trustee Peter Egbert.

Last year, Morrison appointed Gery Juleff to the role of Sustainability Coordinator and Ecology teacher. He was charged with developing a sustainability plan for the future and leading on a variety of initiatives, including the solar energy project, the Farm-to-School program, the school’s vegetable garden and composting.

“Our installation of the solar panels will enable the school to make its contribution to the fight against climate change, inspire students, and save on energy costs,” said Juleff. “The key to finalizing this project was a partnership between my colleagues at the school and on the Board, including HOS Michelle Morrison and Trustee, Peter Egbert, along with our local partners: the Circadia Group, Plankton Energy, and Green Power Energy.”

In addition to an abundant supply of solar energy, the panels also provide an exciting learning opportunity for the school’s students.

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“Real-world learning is a hallmark of the Montessori philosophy,” said Morrison. “During the middle school science unit on climate change mitigation, students will learn about solar energy and how it positively impacts the environment. Likewise, in math class, middle school students will examine consumption and production data to demonstrate the financial incentives for going solar. They’ll even utilize installation information, such as the optimal angle of panel installation, directional placement, and latitude, to investigate how geometry is used to maximize energy absorption and utility.”

Now that the panels are fully functioning, the school array offsets over 3,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions over the 20 year agreement (the equivalent emissions of using 346,824 gallons of gasoline). The array should also, depending on future utility prices, save the school more than $720K in electricity bills during that time and even more over the lifetime of the installation.

“It was a great learning experience,” said Juleff. “We would be delighted to help inspire other local organizations in their quest for sustainability. We have written an informal ‘how-to guide’ based on our experience, which we hope will show other schools and organizations that installing solar is manageable and will bring significant benefits”

Princeton Montessori School

Princeton Montessori School, founded in 1968, is an independent, coeducational day school dedicated to the highest quality education of children, from infancy through middle school, according to the values and principles of the Montessori philosophy. The school is fully accredited by the American Montessori Society (AMS), a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for the Middle Years Programme (MYP).


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