Solar Alternatives Helps Create First Solar Greenhouse in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, LA. (November 4, 2013) – With the help of Solar Alternatives, the New Orleans HBI-Job Corps is nearing completion on the first solar greenhouse in the metro area. Once completed, the greenhouse project will provide a facility for culinary students to practice their trade with ingredients they grow themselves.

The project involved multiple departments at the Job Corps Center and allowed students from the various training programs, such as electrical and carpentry, to work together to create the newly construction freestanding structure that will be in used for years to come.

A partnership between Solar Alternatives and the students was key to the success of this project. “I can’t remember another project that got the students so excited,” said Preston Stephens, an instructor at HBI-Job Corps. “Many of the electrical students had never thought of a career in solar until this project began and now they see a real future in this area.”

“We wanted to help create a model that is as sustainable as possible and has the least impact on natural resources,” said Jeffrey Cantin, president of New Orleans-based Solar Alternatives. “It was also a great benefit to see how motivated the students are and for us to help bring this technology to another application outside of the typical residential or commercial projects.”

“When the greenhouse is up and running, the food grown such as herbs and spices will be used in the culinary classes at Job Corps and put in some cooking exercises,” said Stephens.

Stephens also pointed out how construction materials used in the greenhouse makes them more energy-efficient and helps grow crops year-round using collected rain water.

Once completed later this month, the greenhouse will use solar panels to create electricity and heat to run the 128 square-foot greenhouse.  Phase II of the project, which should be completed early next spring, will add a wind turbine and rain water pump needed for the students to add in a hydroponic section to the greenhouse.

“It’s a good feeling to know we’re not polluting in the growing process,” said Stephens.

Designed by Verges Rome Architect, this sustainable greenhouse will provide an educational learning tool for future students and the community.

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About Solar Alternatives
Solar Alternatives was founded in 2008 to provide affordable, productive, and durable solar and renewable energy systems solutions for Southeast Louisiana. Supporting electric vehicles and other wise environmental practices is part of Solar Alternative’s core values and strengthens its commitment to be a leader in environmental stewardship. For more information, please call (504)267-1660 or visit solalt.com.

About Job Corps Center-Job corps is a no-cost education and career technical training program administered by the US Department of Labor, under the supervision of ODLE Management Group, to help young people ages 16 through 24 improve the quality of their lives through career technical and academic training. At the New Orleans Job Corps Center, they support the Job Corps program’s mission of teaching eligible young people the skills they need to become employable and independent and placing them in meaningful job or further education.