All over the world schools are installing clean power systems and saving money. Institutions of learning offer the perfect platform for renewable energy. In the context of financial constraints on education, green power can also be a forward-looking cost-effective option. In addition to offering long-term price stability, renewable energy is emissions-free power.
Declining price points and increasing efficiency make renewables the smart choice. This is especially true when coupled with increases in efficiency and decreased costs of stationary batteries. Market forecasts suggest that energy storage will continue to get less expensive and more efficient.
The declining price points of solar have made this type of power production the least expensive form of energy on Earth and wind farms are now comparable to the cost of new natural gas-fired power plants. However, even with declining costs and better performance context, appropriate finance schemes are essential.
Renewables have particular value in some of the poorest rural areas of the developing world. In places without power local distributed energy enables schools to leapfrog over costly infrastructure investments.
In Pakistan, more than half the population is not connected to the national grid. To address the absence of energy in pedagogical settings 20,000 schools in the Punjab are planning to install rooftop solar panels. With the support of the Asian Development Bank and the AFD Bank of France, the Khadam-e-Punjab Ujala Program is planning to install rooftop solar arrays on schools, health centers, and higher education institutions.
Installing renewable energy projects in schools is not only taking place in the developing world. Some of the world’s wealthy oil rich nations are also investing in renewables. In Alberta, the oil producing center of Canada, more than 500 rural schools are currently be powered by the wind. A total of 26 school districts have signed an innovative agreement with Bull Creek wind farm. BluEarth Renewables was able to build its wind farm thanks to competitive financing from ATB Financial.
A central Indiana school district has installed rooftop solar Energy to supply all of its power needs. This is expected to save the district between $4 million and $5 million over a 20-year period. This will slash the school’s energy budget by about 20 percent.
For a more detailed exploration of renewable energy in schools click here to access a guide developed by Minnesota Renewable Energy Society.
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