With materials measured and cut, and power tools in hand, members of the New London-Spicer Youth Energy Summit began building solar panels Tuesday at NLS Middle School.
The panels will help heat the Little Theatre in New London, part of a continuing effort by summit members to make the building increasingly energy efficient. In recent years, summit members, eighth-grade students at NLS, have also installed "green" insulation and compact fluorescent lighting at the theater.
Teresa Copley is an NLS teacher who leads the gifted and talented pull-out class where summit members work on the theater project. She said the students have attended a summit event in Marshall and a winter workshop at Prairie Woods.
John Duevel, owner of Three Seasons & More in Willmar, designed the panels, which are similar to those he built to heat the climbing wall area at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in rural Spicer.
As he worked with the students Tuesday, Duevel said some adults aren't going to change their mind about alternative forms of energy. That's why it's important to show young people what technologies like solar can do, he said.
A $5,000 grant from the Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams is funding the project.