Public schools are typically strapped financially. Modernization money, if available, is used to repair buildings, remove toxic asbestos, and upgrade internet capabilities. Sometimes, eco-friendly infrastructure is added, liked filtered water hydration stations, but what about renewable energy?
There is a movement in North Carolina called Repower Our Schools1)http://ecowatch.com/2015/08/20/repower-our-schools-renewable-energy/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=dbabb541da-Top_News_8_21_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-dbabb541da-85357185.
Did you know solar energy can do more than just save the world?! By powering Public Schools with 100% renewable energy, we can also ensure limited school funding goes toward making them safe, efficient, and top-notch learning environments for our children.
Parents, teachers, and students throughout the region are calling upon Schools Boards to commit to powering every school in their district with clean energy. This is no longer just an environmental issue – affordable solar energy will boost school budgets, protect our children’s health and prepare them for the future.
As major buyers of electricity, school districts can lead the way to a renewable energy future. Solar installations on schools have increased five fold nationally since 2008. Many public school districts spend millions of taxpayer dollars annually on dirty energy. Not only is burning coal and gas more expensive, it also contributes to air pollution, which aggravates respiratory diseases such as asthma–the leading cause of school absenteeism.2)https://greenwire.greenpeace.org/usa/en/node/32658/
Schools throughout the country have saved money buy switching to alternative energy. Four years ago, Solar City and Chico Unified School District partnered.
The installations will include more than 6,600 solar panels at Pleasant Valley High, Chico High, Marsh Junior High, Chapman Elementary and the District’s corporate yard. Together the five sites comprise one of the largest commercial solar projects in Chico and are expected to produce more than two million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. The solar production is expected to be sufficient to offset 85% of the sites’ total energy use and could save the District $3 million in energy costs over the next 20 years. The five solar power systems are also estimated to offset more than 86 million pounds of carbon dioxide over their lifetimes, the equivalent of taking 9,000 cars off the road for a year.
SolarCity will finance, install, own and maintain the District’s five solar power systems, while the District will pay for the power they produce through a 20-year power purchase agreement. SolarCity has installed solar power for more than 100 schools and universities in the U.S.3)http://www.solarcity.com/newsroom/press/solarcity-and-chico-unified-school-district-announce-solar-project-offer-1000
Public schools often respond to parental pressure, especially as it gains media attention. Hopefully more communities will join the Repower Our Schools movement beyond North Carolina. Repower Our Schools lists the following benefits:
Affordable solar means more funding for teachers, facilities and student resources
Investing in solar is truly an investment in our children. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) has repeatedly faced budget cuts. By switching to renewable energy like solar, schools can focus on hiring more teachers and providing kids the resources they need to succeed.
Solar provides educational opportunities now, and prepares kids for the future
As solar becomes increasingly important to our economy, there is an opportunity to educate kids on its benefits now, while preparing them for the jobs of tomorrow. At school, teachers could incorporate solar into the STEM curriculum — while kids witness its advantages firsthand.
Renewable energy protects both our environment AND our children’s
The benefits of renewable energy for our environment are clear. However, many people don’t realize that moving away from coal fired power plants also reduces the pollution that contributes to asthma attacks, ER visits, and other health problems.
Other North Carolina schools are already going solar
Schools across the nation are taking up solar and North Carolina is no exception – more than 3,000 of the 3,752 solar systems at US schools were installed in the last six years.4)http://www.repowerourschools.com/charlotte/
The benefits of schools being powered by renewable energy are being recognized across the country. Let’s keep this movement going!
References [ + ]