A Baraga County school is aiming to be one of the first schools in the Upper Peninsula to utilize solar energy.

Sacred Heart School in L’Anse is partnering with U.P. Green and Werner Electric for a fundraiser to raise money for two solar panel systems.

The systems, which would be placed on the roof and on a pole, would save the school up to 10 percent in energy costs.

“It helps the students just become more responsible people, more responsible citizens, but is also helps the school with any budget operational costs they’re having,” U.P. Green director Chimene Puska said. “There’s small measures with lighting and recycling that can have a big effect on your budget and the solar can actually eliminate a lot of the electric and heating costs.”

“As Christians, we’re called by the church to watch over nature. God made nature for man’s use but that really means to enhance, not destroy it,” Sacred Heart principal Dr. Eric Grekowicz said. “Burning fossil fuels is simply not good for the environment, so if we can reduce that, we’re doing a better job with our stewardship for the planet.”

People can buy solar powered items, like lanterns and flashlights at a discounted rate to help raise funds for the panels.

“By starting with selling small solar items the students here at the school actually get to participate in the process,” Werner Electric solar sales specialist Richard Henes said. “They actually go out and help sell the products, they learn about the products themselves, the people that they’re selling the products to learn more about solar, so we saw and educational value there.”

The project is expected to cost over $100,000, but Puska said grants can help cover half the cost.  The school will most likely have to raise $50,000-$60,000.

To donate, stop in at Sacred Heart or visit U.P. Green’s website.