Quantcast
Renewable Energy
School buses at Analy High School in Sebastopol, California. The Solar Foundation

5,500 K-12 Schools Have Already Gone Solar

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.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Energy
Arkhip Vereshchagin / TASS / Getty Images

Trump Admin Plans to Use West Coast Military Bases to Ship Coal, Natural Gas

The Trump administration is considering using military bases to export coal and natural gas as a way to override state opposition to building private export terminals, Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke told the AP.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
San Juan National Forest. Scrubhiker (USCdyer) / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Trump Plan to Ramp Up Fracking, Mining in National Forests Threatens Climate

The Trump administration's plan to make it easier for industry to frack and mine in national forests would endanger the climate, wildlife and watersheds, the Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups said in comments submitted Monday to the U.S. Forest Service.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
A tree falling on a power line ignites a fire in Colesville, MD on June 13, 2013. A California utility cut power to 60,000 customers to prevent a wildfire sparking from an incident like this. Michael S. Williamson / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Power Cut to 60,000 in Northern California to Prevent Wildfires

Major California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) shut off power to 60,000 Northern California residents Sunday night in an attempt to reduce the risk of wildfires sparking from hot, dry windy weather, the Huffington Post reported Tuesday.

A total of 100,000 people were warned their power might be cut off due to wind speeds of 60 miles per hour and gusts of 70 miles per hour increasing the risk of electrical fires.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
A pipeline fire in Nigeria in 2006 caused, like an explosion Friday, by pipeline vandalism. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP / Getty Images

60 Dead in Nigerian Pipeline Explosion

A fire that ignited at a Nigerian oil pipeline Friday has now claimed 60 lives, Reuters reported Monday.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Food
Pxhere

World Food Day: 4 Easy Ways to Make a Difference

On World Food Day, observed every year on Oct. 16, we can all do our part to combat global hunger and malnutrition.

The United Nations' second Sustainable Development Goal calls for ending world hunger by 2030 and urges profound interventions from governments, businesses and individuals to help feed the growing number of hungry people in the world.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
Robin Loznak

Groundbreaking Youth Climate Lawsuit Against U.S. Government Can Proceed

A federal judge on Monday rejected the Trump administration's last-ditch efforts to derail a landmark constitutional climate lawsuit brought by 21 youth plaintiffs, preserving the trial start date of Oct. 29 in Eugene, Oregon.

In a 62-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken denied yet another attempt from the federal government to throw out Juliana v. United States, which was first filed in 2015.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
Daniel Heighton / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Taxing Carbon May Sound Like a Good Idea But Does It Work?

By Paul Griffin

Exxon Mobil is backing a proposal to tax oil, gas and coal companies for the carbon they emit and redistribute the money raised that way to all Americans. It's also giving a group urging Washington to enact a tax on carbon US$1 million to advocate for this policy.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
Darina Allen, founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, County Cork, Ireland. Eleanor Bentall / Corbis via Getty Images

Chefs Are Going Back to Their Roots for Local, Sustainable Foraged Foods

Chefs around the world are using foraged ingredients to add exciting, fresh and eco-friendly flavors to their menus. By searching for herbs, fruits and roots from the wild, they create fresh, flavorful dishes. They also champion sustainable practices, indigenous produce and a sense of adventure. Ultimately, these foraging chefs bring diners unique experiences closer to nature.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!