More than 100 students entered the National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA contest, vying to win the competition’s grand prize: a 10-by-10-foot PowerMod self-sustaining solar tent donated by FTL Solar LLC, Austin, Texas, manufacturer of the photovoltaic tensile structures. The oldest school in the U.S., Boston Latin School, won the “green wishes” prize, presented at a climate change summit for youth and educators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in May.
The tent, which will be used as an outdoor classroom, produces one kilowatt hour of energy per day. According to Todd Dalland, FTL Solar founder and president, the PowerMod is an ideal educational tool for teaching technology. By learning the molecular properties of the flexible PV material, structural challenges of power capture and transportation, and effects of energy on the economy and urban design, students get a short course in green energy—and a practical demonstration of its uses.