Facebook
Edutopia on Facebook
Twitter
Edutopia on Twitter
Google+
Edutopia on Google+
Pinterest
Edutopia on Pinterest Follow Me on Pinterest
WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

School Incentives for Installing Solar-Power Systems

School districts across the country take advantage of incentives for mounting solar panels.
Mark Nichol
Editor / Writer
Credit: Photolibrary.com

The sun is shining on public schools throughout the United States thanks to federal, state, and local government funding and incentives and private assistance for installing solar-power systems.

Installing solar-power systems costs $8,000-$10,000 per kilowatt of power output, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Schools can earn some of that money back through energy credits for the surplus power their panels generate and feed into the power grid. Keep in mind, too, that installing a solar-power system is equivalent to prepaying your utility bill for the next few decades; systems last for 15 to 25 years.

Most solar-power systems installed at schools are 1-kilowatt systems, which cost about $25,000 for equipment, installation, and teacher training. These power 16–20 fluorescent tube lights each day, about 1–2 percent of a school's energy requirement. Activists suggest starting schools off with small but visible installations (and curricular materials) to sell district administrators on the technology and the educational benefits before broaching the subject of comprehensive systems.

What are the cost savings?

  • School administrators in Norton, Massachusetts, could save $350,000 over the next 25 years with a 25-kW system.
  • A district on New York's Long Island will save about $28,000 per year with a 111-kW system; it received a rebate of about $350,000 from the local utility company.
  • A 788-kW districtwide system in Hanford, California, could save the district more than $150,000 over the first five years with a power-purchase agreement. The project qualifies for more than $4 million in tax incentives and cash rebates.

Comments (3)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

John Lucero's picture

What about the cost of long term maintenance or cost of roof repairs and replacement?

ClaraGreene-Lucas's picture

[quote]What about the cost of long term maintenance or cost of roof repairs and replacement?[/quote] Yes, but what and how can a small business get involved?

blog Why Quality Professional Development for Teachers Matters

Last comment 22 hours 26 min ago in Professional Development

Discussion Is there such thing as a 'teaching instinct'?

Last comment 6 days 9 hours ago in Teacher Development

Discussion New Teacher Induction Program (NTIP) Resources

Last comment 1 week 4 days ago in New Teachers

Discussion Five Peaceful Steps To Delivering Critical Feedback

Last comment 1 week 1 day ago in School Leadership

article New Teachers: Resource Roundup

Last comment 3 months 2 weeks ago in New Teachers

Sign in and Join the Discussion! Not a member? Register to join the discussion.