Now that 100% of Midland's water pumping needs are met with student-installed solar arrays, this year's Sophomores took on a different type of installation, one that will ensure that Midland can still pump water if the electricity grid goes down. This AC-coupled system is comprised of two large Sunny Island inverters and a battery bank, which together, if the grid goes down, will turn on, establish voltage to set up a temporary grid, and direct our solar electricity directly to our syncline well pump rather than back into the grid as it does during normal operation. This system takes Midland to a new level of self-reliance and disaster preparedness through our solar arrays.
Following this solar installation, the Sophomores took on the problem-solving task of understanding - and for the first time ever, diagramming - the complex plumbing system that moves water into the student showers from shower fire tanks and solar water heating panels that have been on our student bathroom roofs for 25 years. This is the first step in attempting to better use and integrate our solar water heating panels to pre-heat water for the shower fire tanks, which will ultimately make the system more efficient and less fuelwood-intensive. We have installed a prototype system on one of the girls' shower fire rooms - a solar-powered system that senses water temperatures and then slowly circulates water from the rooftop solar panels into the shower fire tank. Don't worry - Midland will continue its tradition of shower fires for its cultural values, and the class of 2017 strongly championed the importance of shower fires! We seek to better use our solar resources in concert with our shower fires. The 9th grade girls shower fire room also received some love and new paint.