It’s Earth Day! Think solar. Bike solar. Donate solar.

ARTech solar panel teamI interviewed a group of ARTech students last week who are working on a project to install solar panels (2 KW photovoltaic system) at the school.

L to R: Nathan, Andy, Danny, Ryan, Jana Reed, ARTech advisor and science specialist, Brianna, Sean, Lauren.

They’re hosting a bike-a-thon on May 24 to raise money for the solar panels, assisted by ARTech Advisor and Social Studies Specialist Joe Pahr and his colleagues at the Northfield Bicycle Club. They’ll be live music and a BBQ after the event, with food donated by Todd Lein and the Thousand Hills Cattle Company.

Students are raising the bulk of the money by selling $1,000 sponsorships for each of the ten solar panels. Among the first organizations to commit to sponsorships are the Northfield United Methodist Church, EdVisions Coop, Community Resource Bank, …

umc-banner edvisions-logo community-resource-bank-logo

Here’s the audio of my interview with the students.

Click play to listen. 16 minutes, 30 seconds.

Update 9:20 PM: I’ve added Community Resource Bank to the list of organizational sponsors above.


  1. john george said:

    Griff- Bike solar? Hmmmmm. Does this mean you are pedaling solar energy? In fact, I thought bicycles were people powered. Do you put solar cells in that helmet you wear? Wouldn’t that contribute to a bunch of hot head bikers around town? Alright. I’ll stop having fun with this. I know it is to promote the fund raiser, but I saw all kinds of possibilities with the headline. Sounds like a great project.

    April 22, 2008

    This is for an article that gives examples of grass roots demand for solar, etc, rather than waiting for political leadership. I apologize if I am out of step on this subject.

    And yes, big cheers for Artech. As an artist, i sent many suggestions to one of the first meetings for public input on the Carlson Art Building project…including ways to have building wide recycling, grey water usage and other green technologies that are slowly being taken up around the country. Let’s get going. It’s fun, it’s clean and it’s all green.

    April 22, 2008
  3. John S. Thomas said:


    Why don’t all of the posters on LoGroNo get together and raise $1000 and sponsor one as a group? I think there is enough of us here to raise $1000 pretty quickly…

    Anyone else interested? I don’t have a grand laying around, but I think I could contribute a bit to this cause.

    April 22, 2008
  4. john george said:

    John S.- That is a grand idea. I don’t have an extra $1000 laying around, either, but I would be willing to pitch in, and I don’t ride a bike well. Do you want to organize something?

    Griff- You could have one panel labeled LoGroNoGreen. Or maybe LoGroNoSo?

    April 22, 2008
  5. (Solar Project hat on)

    John [Thomas], I think it’d be great to have Locally Grown regulars contribute a panel. E-mail me at shayfordoleary (at) if you need help with the logistics of assembling this donation.

    Also, I should let everyone know, Community Resource Bank today agreed to sponsor a panel. You can check out our current status of sponsorships here.

    April 22, 2008
  6. Patrick Enders said:

    Felicity and I would be happy to contribute to a LoGroNoSolar panel.

    April 22, 2008
  7. John S. Thomas said:


    Would you be willing to collate the donations, and make sure they get to the right place? Could we just cut a check to Artech, and send it to someone so it all goes against the LoGroNo Panel?

    Just let me know where it needs to go, or maybe we can just get it to someone at ArTech.

    I was looking for one of the triumvirate to step up and lead the charge.

    April 22, 2008
  8. You can send it to me at ARTech; just be sure to note in the check memo “Locally Grown” or “LoGroNo.” The check should be payable to “Northfield School of Arts and Technology.”

    It can be sent to:

    Northfield School of Arts and Technology
    ATTN: Sean Hayford O’Leary
    P.O. Box 349
    Northfield, MN 55057-0349

    I will record the amount and track the progress toward the $1000 mark. Thanks again for getting this started, John!

    April 22, 2008
  9. As parents of an ARTech grad, Paul and I would love to contribute to a LoGrNo panel!

    April 22, 2008
  10. Griff Wigley said:

    Sean, I’ve added Community Resource Bank to the list of organizational solar panel sponsors in the blog post.

    John T, I love the idea of LoGroNo ‘regulars’ sponsoring a solar panel but I can’t speak for my colleagues on us taking an official lead on it.

    Part of the consideration is that we’ve got a RepJ reporter to figure out how to fund-raise for first.

    So in the meantime, carry on. And to echo Tonyia:

    As parents of an ARTech grad, Robbie and I would love to contribute to a LoGrNo panel!

    April 22, 2008
  11. As the English say, “Brilliant!”

    July 24, 2008
  12. Yeah, I stopped by a couple times during installation, and the system looks great. Anyone is welcome to come by and take a look at the panels.

    The Locally Grown panel never came to fruition, but I’d like to put out a thanks to LoGroNoers Tonyia Harkins Little and John George for their donations toward that — they were still very helpful to the project.

    July 24, 2008
  13. Sarah Hale said:

    ARTech will be celebrating the donors who graciously gave to the solar panel project TODAY! at 1:30 – 2:30 pm. If you’d like to learn more about the solar panels or about solar energy, from 2:30 – 3:30 students (including the amazing Kaya Lovestrand) will be giving tours and answering questions.

    October 24, 2008

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