It’s interesting to know that out of all students in the U.S, less than 6% are enrolled at schools using solar energy. Admittedly, the U.S is one of the countries with a significant amount of educational institutions paying attention to solar power today. As a result, the schools can enjoy the numerous benefits derived from solar energy installation.
According to educators, a notable benefit to be derived from solar installation on school buildings is cost-effectiveness. School buildings usually have extensive roofs and tons of parking lot space with direct exposure to the sun. So schools can be a significant resource for tapping sustainable energy that can benefit their localities.
So what are the reasons schools should install a solar system? Let’s find out.
The school’s usage of renewable energy isn’t just beneficial for the school itself but also the school’s locality and the environment. The installation of solar systems helps the school to generate and utilize clean energy without the consequent emissions of greenhouse gases. In essence, the school is playing an active role in the fight against global warming.
Furthermore, solar system installation (mainly on-site installation) lessens the school’s need for fossil fuels and enhances the usage of sustainable energy use in the nearby area.
Huge Savings on Cost
The majority of schools are not privileged to enjoy federal or state solar energy tax benefits as NPOs (non-profit organizations). However, there are other ways to enjoy these incentives. For example, you can sign a power purchase agreement. The power purchase agreement is a contract in which a solar energy company owns, funds, constructs, and maintains a solar PV system on the customer’s site, then sells the solar energy produced to the school at a lesser (and usually fixed) rate. This electricity comes at a discounted price when compared to usual electricity bills.
The rate at which the energy is sold to the other party is usually for 15-20 years. Bound by this contract, the school doesn’t incur initial costs, or if they do, it’ll be very low. This saves the school a considerable amount all through the duration of the contract.
A good instance is installing a 137kw solar system by Solect on Roxbury Latin school’s Albert Gordon Field rooftop, thanks to a power purchase agreement. The school speculated savings in energy costs to amount to almost $100k in 15 years.
A Rich Educational Experience
Solar energy is an innovation that students can derive knowledge from. Solar energy doesn’t just trigger eco-friendly activities among students, but several solar schools have made a move to incorporate solar systems into their curriculum via math or science classes. A good example is the Roxbury Latin School’s solar system which has been incorporated into the science syllabus.
This school has also established an interactive portal that can provide students with access to data streaming. Students use this to quantify the solar panels’ output. In summary, this creates a rewarding learning experience for the students.