Johnson receives innovation award from FPU, TVA

After completing a successful renewable energy project for Fayetteville High School to garner the Girl Scout Gold Award, Lilli Johnson, a fourth-generation Girl Scout and senior at FHS, was presented the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Certificate of Innovation in Renewables award at Fayetteville Public Utilities’ April board meeting.

“Lilli took the initiative to research solar energy and see if she could create a renewable energy project at her high school,” says Megan Keen, TVA customer service manager who presented the award on behalf of TVA and FPU. 

The rooftop solar installation, which Lilli installed herself, is comprised of three 100-watt solar panels, a 30-amp disconnect switch, a 600-watt grid tie inverter and a meter cabinet that feeds the 20-amp, single-pole breaker for the FHS digital sign. She used a demand meter provided by FPU in order to read the energy produced by the solar panels.

The 300-watt solar panel installation is wired to the school’s main electric grid, so since Feb. 3, the power generated by the project is now being used throughout the school, with a portion of it supplying power to the digital sign at the school’s entrance.

To fund the solar project, Lilli raised $800 by selling 700 boxes of Girl Scout cookies during their annual sales drive and sold 400 Sundrop cupcakes by way of Facebook and contacting friends and family. 

During the process, Lilli received technical and electrical instruction from FPU’s Substation and Metering Department employees and FHS’ maintenance personnel as well as her FHS project manager, Terri Anderson.

“Lilli shows great promise for the future through her innovation and intelligence in tackling such a project,” says Keen.

“Lilli’s solar installation is not only a contribution to the school, but it is also a cost-saving investment,” says FPU’s CEO and General Manager Britt Dye. “The project was designed to provide enough room to add several more panels on the roof of the high school to further the renewable energy project.”

Project Bright Future is the name of Lilli’s solar project at FHS. “I am excited to see students continue this project to make a brighter future using renewable energy,” she says.

As a Tiger Legacy, underclassmen at FHS are already continuing the solar initiative and have raised an additional $600 – enough to purchase four additional solar panels for the school to continue what Lilli started.

“It was an honor for FPU to assist this bright, young lady with her solar project, and we are proud to see that what Lilli began will continue to grow and serve the school in the future,” adds Dye. “We wish Lilli continued success in all that she endeavors.”

Lilli is the daughter of Heidi Griffin and Rhett Johnson.

Megan Keen of TVA (left) presented Lilli Johnson with the Certificate of Innovation in Renewables Award. At right, Lilli stands next to the rooftop solar panels she installed at FHS.