OGDEN — It’s best not to put high school senior Olivia Arbogast up to a challenge. Unless you want more than $100,000 in solar panels on your roof, that is.
St. Joseph’s Catholic High School now has 157 solar panels across the roofs of two of the school’s buildings — generating about 15 percent of the school’s energy — because one of Arbogast’s peers was resistant to joining a club she led called the Green Squad.
When Arbogast was a sophomore, she was trying to reinvigorate the club, which petered out after her friends who started it graduated. They had built a school garden and run recycling programs.
“Someone came in and said, sort of as a joke — because I wasn’t really being taken seriously — they said, ‘I’ll only join this club if you get solar panels,’” Arbogast said. “And I was like ‘Well, I’ve never really backed down from a challenge before, so why not?’”
The peer she was trying to win over didn’t join, but Arbogast got the solar panels.
On Tuesday the school celebrated the completion of the 157-panel installation, which was funded by a grant that Arbogast wrote with the support of other faculty at the high school who have experience with grant writing.
Arbogast made a substantive contribution to the application, writing the major proposal about the solar panels the school was interested in, she said.
She spent two to three hours a week for two months searching for opportunities to fund the solar panels and reaching out to organizations. Then she spent another five to six hours a week for two months finalizing the grant application and securing the approval of the school’s board, she said.
Representatives of both organizations attended and spoke at the school celebration Tuesday.
Blue Sky has awarded slightly more grants than the number of solar panels on St. Joseph’s roofs.
The project at St. Joseph’s marks the 158th renewable energy project Blue Sky has funded for schools, libraries, food banks and other community organizations in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho.
This is the equivalent of taking more than 165,000 cars off the road, according to a Blue Sky video.
More than 125,000 customers of Rocky Mountain Power contribute as little as $1.25 per month as part of Blue Sky to help fund community-based renewable energy projects in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho.