Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

5,500 K-12 Schools Have Already Gone Solar

Renewable Energy
5,500 K-12 Schools Have Already Gone Solar
School buses at Analy High School in Sebastopol, California. The Solar Foundation

Nearly 5,500 K-12 schools in the U.S. are harnessing the sun's rays for energy, according to a new report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the Solar Foundation and clean energy nonprofit Generation 180. That means about five percent of all K-12s in the nation are solar powered.

The study, Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools, 2nd Edition, touts that this switch to renewables has allowed schools to reduce their electricity bills, all while freeing up resources to invest in education. Roughly four million students attend such schools.


A total of 5,489 schools have a combined capacity of 910 megawatts, which is enough to power more than 190,000 homes, the study found.

Here are some notable state achievements from the Brighter Future report:

  • California leads the nation with 1,946 solar schools and a 489-megawatt capacity.
  • Nevada has the highest adoption rate, with 23 percent of schools using solar energy statewide.
  • Arizona has the most solar school capacity on a per capita basis, at 86 watts per student.

As GreenTechMedia reported, cumulative PV capacity on K-12 school buildings has increased by 86 percent since 2008. The reason behind the surge is down to dipping installation prices and new financing options. The cost of installing solar in schools has decreased 66 percent in the past seven years.

"All of the reasons why people are going solar, […] really tie back to the affordability," SEIA spokesman Dan Whitten told the website.

However, the possibility of the Trump administration's new tariffs on imported solar equipment from the Section 201 Trade Case could stymie the country's adoption of solar power.

“Injecting significant additional costs on these projects would poke holes in the very reason that people are adopting solar: That it is affordable and that it is competitive with other fuels. Artificially raising prices is never a good thing," Whitten explained.

The Brighter Future report includes case studies of the unique paths that schools took to install solar.

For instance, at Sacajawea Middle School in Bozeman, Montana, a seventh-grader named Claire Vlases led the charge and helped raised funds to bring solar to her school. Installation cost $115,000, but the solar system is expected to pay for itself in nine years.

“My favorite part about this project was that one person like me could start something small and then the project could grow and have a big impact on the community," Vlases said.

To tie-in with the release of the report, Generation 180 is launching a national Solar Schools Campaign to encourage more schools to make the transition.

The Generation 180 website includes a toolkit that provides a step-by-step advice on the process, as well as resources to assess feasibility and financing.

The purple marks represent solar schools. The orange marks represent case studies of certain schools in the new report.

A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less

Trending

New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less
A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less
Woodpecker

Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.

Read More Show Less