Solar Energy Adds Up to Big Savings for U.S. Schools
Schools throughout the U.S. are using solar installations to stretch their budgets and develop hands-on learning opportunities for students in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) recently reported that 3,752 U.S. schools are using solar energy to power their facilities, cutting their utility bills by nearly $78 million each year. SEIA estimated that another 40,000 to 70,000 school districts could adopt solar power cost effectively, including 450 districts that could each save more than $1 million over 30 years by installing a solar PV system.
Lower Costs and New Finance Options
More than 3,000 of the existing systems were installed in the past six years as schools took advantage of declining installation costs and new financing options. Many schools are opting for power purchase agreements and lease agreements that afford immediate savings with no upfront investment. The schools are using the savings to retain staff and resources despite budget cuts.
A Real-World Education
Most schools get double duty from their arrays by incorporating them into their curricula. Students can use live data from their arrays to solve engineering, physics and math problems, gaining invaluable real-world experience in applied science.
In addition to budget savings and educational opportunities, solar arrays give your school the opportunity to model sustainable environmental practices. Add to this federal incentives guaranteed through 2016, and this is clearly a prime time to bring solar to your school.