According to a report released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in 2014, over 3,700 public and private K-12 schools have gone solar that year, reaching over 2.7 million students.
Now, this is a step in the right direction and it is easy to see why. By switching to the solar-enabled mode, these institutions are taking the rising energy consumption cost by its horns. What is more? The cost-saving benefits are being enjoyed not only by the schools, but also by the entire districts where the schools are located.
Behind The Success
Building Architecture: K-12 school buildings – both private and public – share one common architectural feature— large and flat rooftops. And, this is precisely what made them the ideal candidate for this massive ‘solarization’. No wonder, of more than 500,000 homes and commercial buildings that have installed rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal systems, nearly 4,000 of those systems are located in the schools.
Ample parking: Thousand of these solarized schools have utilized their parking lots and on-campus vacant land to harness the power of the sun. Solar PV canopies have been installed in the parking lots. Besides facilitating solar electricity generation, these constructions offer cool shades for the parked vehicles on sunny days. The unused vacant land in the campus has also been put to good use for supporting modestly-sized solar PV farms.
Solar offers excellent return on investments in the long-run by offsetting the increases in utility rates. Solar energy enables the schools to dramatically reduce their carbon footprints. Most importantly, solar-investments enable school authorities to set a good example of how to be friendly to the environment. As for teachers, solar equipment provide them an opportunity to teach technological concepts hands-on. This in turn is expected to stir the students’ interests in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
While thousands of schools across the US have been reaping the benefits of solar installations, it is believed that the untapped potential for solar on K-12 schools is immense, and opportunities are mostly under-utilized. There are more than 72,000 schools that are excellent candidates for cost-effective solar investment, but are yet to make a move. If each of them had installed an average-sized system, total PV capacity on K-12 schools would reach 5.4 GW.
Have you tapped solar power yet? If not, put the unused spaces in your campuses to productive use with solar installations right away. Contact us for further assistance.