NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG) dedicated a solar photovoltaic installation and opened the NRG Playground at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Charter School for Science and Technology in New Orleans.
The installation, donated by NRG, will provide sun-powered energy and education to enhance the experience for the students, and demonstrate how solar is a viable energy option for a new generation of accessible sustainable projects. The installation and playground were dedicated by David Crane, NRG President and CEO; Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints quarterback; and Dr. Doris Roche’-Hicks, CEO and Principal of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Charter School for Science and Technology.
As part of the event, NRG hosted a panel discussion on the future of solar power featuring Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University; Don Smolenski, President of the Philadelphia Eagles; Matt Petersen, President and CEO of Global Green USA; and Laura Spanjian, Director, Office of Sustainability for the City of Houston.
"The new solar installation at the Martin Luther King School demonstrates the applicability and versatility of solar power in urban environments," said Crane. "In addition to reducing the energy costs of the school, the solar panels will provide shade and shelter to students and teachers while on the school grounds."
To raise awareness of recent advancements in solar technology, NRG has championed flagship solar power projects at several high-visibility locations including: Arizona State University; FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins; Patriots Place/Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots; Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles; MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Jets and New York Giants; and the new Santa Clara Stadium, future home of the San Francisco 49ers.
The NRG solar installation at the school is comprised of 397 solar panels, which will provide 112 kilowatts of power, enough to handle one-third of the school’s peak electricity demand with renewable solar energy. The installation also features playground upgrades and educational components including fans, drinking fountains, a garden irrigation system, prisms and inspirational sayings intended to improve the overall student and teacher experience.
"More than just a source of energy, this playground will serve as a source of inspiration, education and fun for years to come," said Dr. Hicks, the school principal.
NRG Energy partnered with several organizations to design and deliver this project. It was designed and managed by Sunora Energy Solutions, which also fabricated and pre-assembled the solar arrays with panels donated by Trina Solar. DLR Design Group and Core Construction provided engineering and construction support. Common Ground Relief provided the gardens and wetland plantings and educational components. The entire project was inspired by the ongoing work Global Green USA has been leading in the lower Ninth Ward.