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Solar in Schools: 3 Things Driving the Trend

Dec 15, 2015

Solar in Schools: 3 Things Driving the Trend

by Raphael Hitzke, Enphase Senior Product Marketing Manager

According to the Solar Foundation, more than 3,000 schools have already gone solar in the U.S., and another 72,000 schools could go solar cost effectively today and make money.

So why are they going solar?

Savings

In cash strapped schools today, saving on energy bills is the primary reason to install solar. It may sound counterintuitive: spend more when you don’t have much money to begin with. But installing solar photovoltaics (PV) brings thousands of dollars in savings to schools. Take the Gilbert Christian School in Arizona as an example: with 30% of the school’s energy needs met by its solar PV system, the school expects to save $500,000 in energy costs over the lifetime of its system.

Think about what you could do with that amount: hire more teachers, buy more educational tools, or perform long overdue repairs. If funding is an issue, Enphase has teamed up with many finance partners to help schools and universities.

Educational opportunities

Having a solar PV array provides new ways to inspire students and teach science or math. When Jim Jenal, the CEO of Run On Sun, worked with the Westridge School in California, he made sure the educational component was present. The solar installation was integrated into the school’s curriculum, giving students the ability to actively engage in experimental learning through first-hand monitoring and analysis via Enphase’s Enlighten monitoring platform.

Environmental protection

School boards and school principals also want to do their part when it comes to putting actions in place to protect the environment. After all, their students are the ones that may be impacted the most by climate change. By putting solar PV on the campus, they are effectively replacing dirty fossil fuels with a clean, local source of energy. The impact is immediate: the Drury High School, for example, was able to offset 140,000 pounds of CO2 in just two years - the equivalent of 10 U.S. homes. 

These actions inspire students and their parents to do even more as solar becomes their “new normal,” increasing the chance they will install solar on their own home. Visit here to find out more about how Enphase can help schools and universities go solar.

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