Solar Panels For Schools; Building A Brighter Future

In a detailed, first of its kind study, The Solar Foundation’s Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools discusses how America’s K-12 schools have shown a rapid growth in their use of solar over the past decade.

Use of solar systems in schools expanded from 305 Kilowatts (kW) of installed capacity to 458,000 kW, and this decreased emissions by 443,799 metric tons per year.

This is equivalent to saving about 50 gallons of gas a year or taking about 100,000 cars off U.S highways. The report was conducted by (TSF) with data and analysis support from SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association).

The key findings of the study are;

  • There are about 3,753 K-12 schools in the U.S. with solar installations. This narrows down to the fact that nearly 2.7 million US students attend schools with solar energy systems.
  • All schools together have a capacity of nearly 490 MW, and can generate an estimated 642,000 MWh of electricity energy each year, which translates to a combined $77.8 million savings per year in utility bills.
  • However, despite this massive progress, school solar capacity remains largely untapped with about 72,000 of the 125,000 school in the country yet to go solar.

But What Is School Solar? 

School solar refers to the two popular types of solar systems that are available for school to use.

  • PV (solar photovoltaic systems), which collect solar radiation and converts it directly into electric power, and
  • Solar thermal systems, which are designed to collect the sun’s heat to offer water heating or space heating or cooling.

Solar energy has been utilized since early 1950s and provided a clean, stable and abundant domestic energy source.

How Solar Schools Create a Brighter Future

1. Saving Money

Installing school solar panels have been shown to reduce school power bills significantly. With an average life of about 25 years, a solar panel investment can save millions of dollars in the long-term.

In fact, the study tells that the installation of school solar systems in 6 schools will save up to $44 million over a period of 25 years.

It also helps to caution a school against the currently rising cost of electricity, not to mention that this also makes budgeting easier and more accurate.

2. Creating Educational Opportunities

Schools have huge incentives to go solar, not only to save funds, but also to develop an energy and sustainability aware student body.

It is essential that students be aware of the environment challenges we are facing in the 21st century. Schools serve as stewards of sustainability and key pillar of green initiatives that benefit their community.

By adopting school solar systems, schools give students first-hard experiences on how solar energy can be used to conserve energy. 

In addition, it’s estimated that by end of 2016, the surging demand for solar systems will create thousands of green collar jobs.

Spending years in schools using such systems helps prepare students for these jobs.

3. Saving The Planet

According to EPA (environmental protection agency), generating power contributes about one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions.

In the U.S. Solar energy is an alternative for fossil fuels which are burnt in power plants producing greenhouse gas emissions as a by-product.

Lastly, school solar energy is free and never gets exhausted. Switching to school solar is one of the biggest step we can take in our communities to fight global warming.