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City Light, Renton School District Unveil Viking 1 Solar Project

Seattle City Light and the Renton School District celebrated the installation of the Viking 1 solar energy demonstration project at Dimmitt Middle School today.

Dimmitt 8th grade science students with teachers. Solar panels in the background

Seattle City Light and the Renton School District celebrated the installation of the Viking 1 solar energy demonstration project at Dimmitt Middle School today.

“Finding ways to meet our energy needs while protecting the environment from greenhouse gasses that promote climate change is one of the biggest challenges our community, our country and our world faces,” City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said. “With demonstration projects like Viking 1, we hope to educate students and our community about renewable energy and inspire them to make sustainable energy choices.”

The solar energy system can produce up to 2.58 kilowatts of electricity. The nearly $30,000 installation, including a weather station and education resources, was paid for with $22,000 from Seattle City Light’s Green Power program and $7,500 plus in-kind labor from the school district. Funding for the Green Power program comes from voluntary contributions by City Light customers. This is the 28th solar demonstration project installed by City Light since 2000.

“This renewable energy demonstration project is an example of how public/private partnerships can strengthen and support education,” Renton School District Superintendent Mary Alice Heuschel said. “The direct link of science concepts being taught in classrooms to hands-on experiences with an important focus on our environment and our energy future, as well as our collective responsibilities to make our world a better place is a fabulous opportunity for the Dimmitt Middle School family and community.”

To help Dimmitt students learn more about solar energy, City Light funds and partners with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Solar 4R Schools Program, to provide a comprehensive science kit of interactive learning resources, renewable energy activity guides, three hours of teacher training at the school and one year of on-going teacher support.

“Learning is most lasting when students make real life connections to classroom concepts,” said Carol Coad, a science teacher at Dimmitt who championed the Viking 1 project. “The Solar 4R Schools science kit not only enhances our curriculum, it also builds lasting bridges to current and future issues in science and technology. This project is a powerful tool in helping Dimmitt’s commitment toward preparing our students for the future.”

Anyone interested in solar energy can see how much electricity the Dimmitt solar panels produce at

Or take a look at any of City Light’s other projects at

Seattle City Light is the ninth largest public electric utility in the United States.  It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents.  City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.

Spanning 32.5 square miles, Renton School District provides a safe and challenging learning environment for a diverse population of approximately 14,000 students in pre-K through 12th grade at four high schools, three middle schools, 13 elementary schools, and an early childhood center. District programs also address the special needs of disabled, academically gifted, and artistically talented students.