Large scale application of solar panels can alleviate much of our dependence on the grid. This has been demonstrated in the Irvine Unified School District, where the use of rooftop solar panels at 15 sites saved $220,000. Now plans are in progress to install solar panel parking canopies at 11 different campuses for further cutting down energy costs. The new installation by SunEdison is expected to save $380,000 in the first year itself and both projects together would save the district anywhere from $5 to $11 million in two decades.
The District Board of Education will soon consider the plans. The idea seems even more lucrative because there will be no upfront costs that the state will have to bear. The solar companies will pay for the installations and earn revenue by selling it in the market at a lower price.
The downside of the project is that people from the surrounding neighbourhoods expressed their concern over the visual impact of such installations. But, officials have assured them that the canopies will be painted to match the overall architecture of the nearby surroundings; like they will match the colour scheme of the school buildings, etc.
The project in addition to saving energy costs will be helpful in educating students on various campuses about the essentiality of using renewable energy sources. Also it will propagate the benefits of integrating our daily lives with energy saving technology.