Environment America Blog
It’s that time of year again – kids are going back to school.
In fact, over 50 million students are expected to attend K-12 schools across the country this fall.
Many of these students have spent the summer swimming in lakes and rivers, hiking in parks and soaking up the sun on the beach. Now, it’s time for them to hit the books and learn more about the world they love.
What if, in addition to teaching students about the world, schools also helped to make it a better place to live? Shouldn’t schools be powered by solar energy? I think so.
This school year, let's make that happen. Tell the Department of Education to prioritize solar on schools.
We know that schools and solar go together like peanut butter and jelly. These facilities often have large flat roofs, expansive parking lots and a need for energy during daylight hours, which make them great locations for generating power from the sun.
Studies show 72,000 schools in the U.S. are well equipped to go solar. And so far, 3,700 schools have put solar panels up to power their classrooms. That’s great progress. By asking the Department of Education to prioritize solar on schools in their Green Ribbon Schools program, we can do even more.
If each eligible school installed panels, we’d generate and extra 5.4 GW of energy, about one-third the amount of solar we are currently generating as a nation. That’s enough energy to power over 4 million homes and is equivalent to 10 coal-fired power plants.
That's a lot of sun power.
Solar power could also save schools a lot of money in the long run. An analysis of 450 school districts found each could save $1,000,000 or more over 30 years by going solar.
The choice to go solar on schools seems clear: we can fight climate change by offsetting 10 coal-fired power plants, save hundreds of millions of dollars and teach the next generation about renewable energy.
So let’s do this. What better way for students to learn about renewable energy than to have solar above their classroom?
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