An increasing number of California’s schools are using solar electricity installations as a teaching tool. The Foundation for Environmental Education has partnered with Pacific Gas and Electric Company to bring renewable energy education into under-served communities through highly-visible solar installation systems. The Foundation for Environmental Education is a non-profit organization that is seeking to build the next generation of thinkers who will carry the renewable energy torch far into the future. California’s Solar Schools initiative will help the state save over $1.5 billion in energy costs over the next 30 years.
The California Solar Schools program works in partnership with solar panel manufacturer SunPower, to help K-12 and higher education institutions across the state take advantage of local solar subsidies that will partially fund the installation of solar panels on their buildings.
The solar panels that are installed as part of the Solar Schools program are all equipped with monitoring systems so that children in that school can learn about how the solar power. “Whether it be a 1 kW solar panel on a pole, or a roof-mounted system on a non-profit building, each is hooked up to an online data monitoring system so that the community can view the energy production of the system and learn about the environmental impact of that system,” the California Solar School’s website says.
Over the next year, SunPower aims to install 90 solar arrays at schools across the state as part of the program. In the San Ramon Valley Unified School District there will be five new solar arrays that will account for nearly 80% of each school’s power requirements. In the first year alone the San Ramon Valley Unified School District will saved $2 million in energy costs.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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