Energy efficiency is now a priority for both individuals and businesses alike. Not only can alternative energy sources like solar power allow you to reduce energy bills, but it can have a hugely positive impact on the planet. In fact, American solar power offsets over 70 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year — the equivalent of planting nearly 1.2 billion trees.
But while some people assume there are limits associated with commercial solar installation, the truth is that all kinds of facilities have embraced the idea of solar energy to impressive degrees of success. Many of our nation’s schools have already started seeing the benefits associated with solar power. However, there are millions of facilities that have yet to catch up.
Whether your educational facility or school district is actively seeking ways to cut costs or you want to be seen as a leader in environmental responsibility, using solar panels for schools can be a welcome solution. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at some of the ways U.S. schools are embracing solar energy and the key reasons why solar energy schools are expected to grow in popularity.
Back in 2017, there were roughly 5,500 U.S. schools using solar energy. At that time, according to a study conducted by the Solar Energy Industries Association, The Solar Foundation, and Generation 180, approximately 5% of all K-12 schools nationwide were solar-powered. Schools were found to produce 1.4 million megawatt-hours of electricity, which would have been enough to power more than 190,000 households.
The growing number of solar schools can be partially attributed to the fact that the cost of using solar energy for schools has decreased significantly; during 2016, solar school installation price dropped by 19% (and during the last decade, the costs decreased by 67%). However, U.S. schools have an incredible amount of solar potential that continues to be untapped. Up to 60% of the nation’s schools have the ability to go solar in a cost-effective way, with around 450 school districts standing to save more than $1 million over three decades by doing so. And because there are a number of ways that solar energy for schools can be implemented — including roof, parking lot, pole mount, awning, and structural installations — the possibilities for cost-savings and energy efficiency are virtually endless.
Now that it’s clear how U.S. schools can and do use solar power, let’s talk about some of the reasons why they should.
As mentioned above, cost reduction is one of the main benefits of using solar energy for schools. While the prices of standard electricity have increased during recent years, the costs of solar power have fallen. Solar power is actually one of the least expensive electrical options available — and many schools are able to access even more affordable solar installations than may be available to other residential and commercial customers. Being able to control the costs of electricity can mean major savings for educational facilities. What’s more, schools often have more space and more structural elements that will allow for larger systems; the bigger the system, the bigger the savings overall. And because solar installations require very little maintenance, schools won’t have to devote as much time or energy to this task and can devote their budgets elsewhere.
Of course, solar panel installation promotes environmental responsibility. Doing the right thing for the sake of the planet can be enough of a reward for some people, but schools can often make a huge difference in their enrollment and in their brand image by embracing solar energy. If you want a way to differentiate your school from others in your area and get some well-deserved media attention, you can actually accomplish both of those goals by installing a solar system.
Ultimately, installing solar energy for schools can be an ideal way to simplify the generation and use of electricity, boost your brand image, and save a substantial amount of money every year. For more information on how we can help your school become energy independent and eco-conscious, please contact us today.