Increasing numbers of businesses, homes and public buildings are relying more and more on solar energy.

Joining them in the past month are venerable Washington Supply Company in Washington Depot and South Kent School's ice rink.

A photovoltaic solar panel array has been installed on the roof of Washington Supply that now supplies 14.4 kilowatts of power continuously, or one-third of the electricity used by the store.

The array was designed by Bob Whelan, co-owner of Washington Supply and a LEED certified solar energy expert.

Paid for by a grant from the Connecticut Green Energy Fund, the array is used to teach consumers about the types of photovoltaic panel arrays available.

Washington Supply is now a CT Green Energy Fund educational facility, with Mr. Whelan giving the tours.

South Kent School activated one of its two new photovoltaic systems Oct. 23 during at a ceremony held beside the school's ice hockey rink, where solar panels have been installed on the Wister Fieldhouse.

Andrew Vadnais, South Kent's Head of School, told the audience of students, faculty, South Kent alumni and guests from the Kent community how installation of the solar panels reflects the South Kent's commitment to both sustainability as a campus and the preparation of young men for a 21st-century economy.

"Beginning this fall, students and faculty at South Kent have begun implementing portions of a new curriculum designed to engage motivate, encourage, and nurture student creativity, entrepreneurship and commitment to stewardship," he said, "with a focus on applying those skills to the study of science, art, technology and sustainability."

"We are building a test kitchen at South Kent for the real-world application of this curriculum content," Mr. Vadnais added. "In time, we hope solar panels will be joined by wind turbines, geothermal buildings and biomass generators, hydroponic greenhouses, heirloom animal varieties and fish farms that will provide quality food and entrepreneurial opportunities."

The panels are American made and will be owned and operated by Star Power, LLC of Southport.

C Solar, a state-based provider of renewable energy solutions, designed and installed the two photovoltaic systems.

"We are excited about our mission," concluded Mr. Vadnais, "and the opportunity it will provide for students, faculty, and others who will work closely with South Kent to learn how to solve real world problems."