Officials from the Arizona Challenger Space Center announced yesterday that the organization will receive a $50,000 solar energy grant as part of a larger $55.4 million federal stimulus grant given to the Arizona Department of Commerce. The center will use the money for two projects. One will be a 72-panel rooftop solar energy system. The other will be a solar panel exhibit within the center that will show live time energy savings.
The Challenger Space Center in Peoria, Arizona is one of 47 Challenger Learning Centers in the United States, Canada, South Korea and England. According to its website, the center provides "exciting space-based learning environment where schoolchildren, families, senior citizens, corporate teams and others fly simulated space flight missions where they become flight crews, mission controllers and scientists."
Out of the 77 grant applications the Arizona Department of Commerce received, Arizona Challenger Space Center's was chosen based on three main criteria: amount of energy saved or produced, the project's cost-effectiveness and its timetable for completion. Not to be overlooked is the education factor, according to Energy Program Administrator Jim Westberg.
"That's a good way to give people an idea about the value of solar energy," Westberg said.