By: Amanda Froelich,
A lot has changed since you went to school. While the struggle to implement healthier food choices rages on, at least other sustainable endeavors are finally being appreciated. Such as the aim of the National Solar Schools Consortium, which plans to put solar on the roofs of every school in the United States.
Released early April, the new organization announced at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Conference that their aim is to have every kindergarten to high school building equipped with solar panels.
Together with the Brian D. Robertson Memorial Solar Schools Fund, Community Power Network, Elephant Energy, the Foundation for Environmental Education, KidWind, Make it Right Solar, Mosaic, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), The Solar Foundation, SolSolution, the Three Birds Foundation, and Women in Solar, the initiative went live. Together, the groups plan to act as a unified voice to put solar on schools, already a growing movement across the US.
The groups NRDC and Mosaic have already launched efforts at crowd souring solar for schools across the U.S., but the consortium will help unify their voices.
Professor Sharon Dannels, Chair of the Education and Leadership Department at the GW Graduate School of Education and Human Development, commented “It’s estimated that thousands of schools across America have already installed solar panels – but tens of thousands of others are still tethered to fossil fuels.” Those schools that have already implemented such progressive change are already reaping the benefits, such as lower energy costs.
“More and more schools across the country are discovering the benefits of going solar,” spoke Rhone Resch, SEIA CEO. “For schools, solar can provide a curriculum where science, economics, and the environment all intersect.”
With this ambitious plan to enact, the consortium hopes to have solar panels installed on 20,000 schools and universities, have 2,000 member organizations, and support 200 solar school initiatives at the district level – all by the year 2020. The organization’s site features a number of resources targeted at helping schools reduce their energy use and create curriculum around energy conservation, as well as adopt clean solar energy, develop projects, and apply for grants and awards.
By going solar, schools can help greatly reduce pollution while also serving as an educational tool for students to discover how clean energy works. “According to a recent study of California schools, an average-sized 313-kilowatt solar system prevents the emission of an estimated 200 pounds of smog-forming pollution a year,” stated Dannels.
Consortium members will continue to present at several workshops during the NSTA Conference at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. It will be during these presentations consortium representatives will encourage attendees to explain what their needs for going solar at the school level are.