On-site renewable energy offers your school both financial benefits and learning opportunities. Solar energy for schools means implementing a generally underutilized asset to your school that was not available to previous generations. Taking steps to free your school from fossil fuels is a commitment to a brighter future and to the needs and values of the surrounding community.
School administrators are discovering the same advantages as commercial property owners, that solar makes good financial sense. The technology used to create solar panels, along with the skilled labor needed for their installation add up to what might seem like a steep initial investment, however those costs have dropped significantly. And, with available grants and funding or financing arrangements like Power Purchase Agreements (PPA’s), along with inherent benefits of going solar, the financial benefits are compelling. In addition to reduced monthly utility bills, programs that incentivize clean energy can provide additional financial benefit. Here’s how:
- State and other local incentives like grants and low-cost financing programs are popular in many regions to support green infrastructure projects.
- General improvement grants specifically sponsored by federal, state, and local agencies are open to schools and not for profits.
- Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) are certificates issued for green energy production. You can sell yours to businesses that need to offset their pollution symbolically.
- Shield your school district from the rising cost of fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil.
Campuses with expansive grounds may have room to grow their solar energy production to make a significant impact on operating expense budgets. Start by taking stock of your school’s open spaces that are exposed to daylight and it will be easy to think of creative applications to propose to the superintendent. Some communities offer additional financial incentives for specific applications like electric car charging stations or carports. Build a solar paneled awning over the bleachers, and you have a self-funding project that taps into school spirit. Your school’s community will appreciate your innovation while they sit in the stands, and when the school tax bill comes.
Real Life Science
Going solar creates a golden opportunity for science teachers to show students how electricity behaves. The modern solar array is a marvel of engineering that curious young minds take to easily. With detailed output reports, teachers can incorporate real energy production figures into lessons about weather patterns or teaching statistics.
A Lessen Plan
Kids respond emphatically to lessons about pollution. Getting kids invested in clean energy development while they are young encourages them to be ecologically-minded adults and creative problem solvers. Supplement the science curriculum and foster a deeper understanding of our relationship to energy with meaningful conversations about ecology and the environment.
Realizing Your (Solar) Potential
Solar energy for schools brings the community a sense of excitement and hope as the project creates a buzz. Working as part of the community’ essential services, public schools have an opportunity to influence other agencies and be thought leaders in the community. Solar energy for schools can inspire “green” initiatives at the hospital, police station, or public parks. The community will be environmentally cleaner while government entities start operating “leaner” thanks to your influence!
Most of America’s schools occupy buildings that are already well suited to solar installations. Throughout the 20th century, architects designing public buildings had no idea that their characteristic boxy shapes and flat roofs would someday be an ideal site for solar energy arrays. This was especially true during the baby boom, when America built 45% of the buildings housing schools today. Even if your facility lacks flat open roof space or you homeschool in your residence, solar energy is very feasible.
Are you ready to start on your homework? Get a professional solar evaluation and discover your potential for graduating to clean energy.
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