Farewell Classroom, Hello Solar Power

Lauren Brown, Reporter

Many students know fifth-year teacher Luke Luginbuhl as a physics teacher. However, Luginbuhl is less well-known as the founder of a business called Legacy Solar that he’s been running on the side.

The mission of Legacy Solar is to provide energy solutions that last for generations. Luginbuhl has always been interested in the prospect of creating a net zero home, meaning that there is no carbon footprint. He has been flipping houses over the summer for the past five years, and after the last flip, Luginbuhl tested this dream out on his own rural home here in Bloomington/Normal.

When Luginbuhl began this endeavor, he thought that it would be a nice part-time job to do a few solar systems on the side, but this summer, the company continue to accelerate to a point where Luginbuhl admits that it began to take up more time than was healthy. He had some conversations with the company about his role there and as a teacher at U-High. It was decided that it would be best for him to leave U-High at the end of the first semester.

This was not an easy decision for Luginbuhl as he has had a wonderful experience with the excellence here at U-High. His favorite part of his job at U-High are his interactions with the students. “My motto is to leave the world a better place than I found it, and I feel like I’m leaving a better person.”

Luginbuhl said the hardest part about his departure is the fact that his children are in the Metcalf school system and he will not have the opportunity to teach them.

“Everyone has had to make sacrifices,” Luginbuhl said of the effect on his family.

He began full-time a year ago, and the business continued to accelerate. Luginbuhl will be operating as a CEO of sales and installs for small commercial and residential applications. In the first year of the business, there were five installs, which increased to 21 installs so far this year. The projected goal for next year is 50-70 installs.

Working for Legacy Solar has been very fulfilling for Luginbuhl: “When I get done at the end of the day, the customer has freedom as they can create and use their own power.” So far, Legacy is based here in Bloomington, and there is no expected travel for the job.

Although Luginbuhl will no longer be a teacher here at U-High, he will remain involved in the U-High community as firm believer that you’re always part of the U-High family. Luginbuhl said you never stop being a teacher, and his parting words of advice for his students is “If failure is the foundation for greatness, a mistake means you just have something to learn today.”