Solar power is truly growing in the US. In 2000, there were roughly 3,000 total US solar installations for both residential and commercial sites. Ten years later, the US is about to eclipse 100,000 installations per year and the trend continues to rise.
Yet, even with the success of solar and the benefits it has demonstrated, it is still meeting headwinds and resistance as it moves forward.
Most of it is due to the public’s education of solar not keeping up with the growth of the industry. As fast as the industry is rising, the general knowledge base has remained largely flatlined with many people still believing either outdated or false information. The payback period is 15 years. Solar doesn’t work in the northeast. Solar can’t work during cloudy days.
One way to battle misinformation is by installing solar on the campus of every school in the US.
By installing solar, schools can not only save money on their energy bills but can use that additional funding to create a curriculum that will include the solar solution as part of the education process. STEM education, (science technology, engineering, mathematics), is a critical component of learning at all grade levels and solar can be utilized as an integral component of the process.
A study demonstrates that schools can cover most if not all of their electricity needs by adopting solar. Additionally, for solar companies looking to expand their business, education facilities account for 11% of total US building electricity consumption so there is definitely an opportunity there.
Not only will students graduate with a much clearer understanding of renewable energy, both as consumers and providers, but will also offer career paths for a field that is booming and will continue to grow in the decades to come.
No one claims the path forward is easy...there are permits, engineers, surveys, budgets, bonds, financing, committee hearings....all of which are required to move towards solar in schools. However, the alternative is to keep still and do the student body a disservice by not educating them for the world they will graduate into.