Installing a solar PV system on a school provides a wide range of benefits for the institution, the students and the community. These benefits apply to schools no matter their size or grade level. Not surprising, PV system installations are surging at schools around the country.
For example, the number of K-12 schools in Virginia that have embraced solar power tripled from 29 to 86 since 2017, according to a new report. Of this solar capacity, 90 percent of it was financed through a PPA.
Trina Solar has also provided its industry-leading solar panels for PV system installations at schools in Clark County School District, Nevada, and the Antelope Valley Union High School District in northern Los Angeles County, California.
What’s behind this surge in educational institutions going solar? These four benefits:
1. Sustainable and Renewable Energy Source
The U.S. Department of Energy estimated that K-12 schools collectively spend more than $6 billion a year on energy. After salary obligations, energy costs are the second biggest expenditure for many districts.
Although the equipment and installation of a PV system requires an initial upfront investment, the energy it generates can potentially pay for the system within just a few years. With 25- to 30-year warranties available for most solar panels, this can lead to several decades of renewable energy use and substantially reduced electricity bills.
The savings in a school’s electricity bill opens room in the budget for more robust student programs, teacher salary increases or growing the school.
2. Ideal spaces for PV systems
Many schools, especially multi-unit campuses, have large flat roofs and big open spaces making them the perfect locations for a PV system. These allow schools to install more panels, which means a greater energy harvest. The more solar panels soaking up sunlight, the more the school can cut its electricity costs.
A recent study showed that if schools used all the available space for solar panels, these institutions can meet up to 75 percent of their electricity needs.
3. STEM Learning Opportunities
In today’s knowledge-based economy, the importance of a strong education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) cannot be understated. Schools that install a solar PV system can provide hands-on learning opportunities for students.
Studies consistently show that students exposed to interactive and hands-on projects become more interested in science, engineering and technology. It should then come as no surprise that students who undergo hands-on learning also increase their test scores and performance in these subjects.
4. Builds Goodwill with the Community
Whether they’re a K-12 or a university, schools serve as a local beacon for learning and education. Schools that move away from traditional energy sources like coal and natural gas and embrace solar can demonstrate to the community their commitment to sustainability.
A solar PV installation reduces the school’s carbon footprint. This decrease in key air pollutants shows the local residents the school is doing what it can to make a better community. Children living in areas with high levels of air pollution face much larger risks of asthma.
Not only does going solar highlight an education institution’s sustainability efforts, but it can also serve as an impetus for community residents to do them same. This goes a long way in building goodwill with the local community.
Click here to learn more about how Trina Solar helps provide these solar power benefits to schools.
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