A report by the Solar Foundation showed that approximately 5,489 K-12 schools in the U.S. now have solar power installations. The total capacity of all the installations produce enough to power about 190,000 homes. Notably, the state of California is the national leader in school solar power with 1,946 solar schools.
There are several reasons for solar installations growing among schools, the main on being the decrease in costs by about 60% within the last seven years. Schools are able to save money, be efficient, and have a backup source of electricity in case of unexpected outages.
A school district in California is estimated to save $80 million in about 25 years. These savings can then be distributed to other areas of schools, helping teachers and students.
Another benefit of having rooftop solar is that students at school can easily see them. Instead of only reading or hearing about renewable energy, students will be exposed to it and realize the importance of contributing to the community in a way that is responsible and sustainable.
Even though over 5,000 schools may seem like a lot of schools with solar installations, it only makes up about 5% of all American schools. Progress has been made and the numbers are growing more rapidly, however, there are still tens of thousands of schools that can be urged to be more sustainable. In most cases, no new construction or land is needed for solar installments—the main requirement is flat roof space. Almost all schools have enough roof space for solar installation, which takes care of the key requirement.
Schools are not the only constituents benefiting from solar; when schools go solar, the whole community sees the benefits. Solar systems installed on public schools helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, demonstrate environmental leadership, reduce energy bills, and create learning opportunities for students.
To download the full case study which details how EnergyLink successfully helped Columbia Independent Schools integrate solar and a host of other energy improvements, click here.
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