This morning the National Solar Schools Consortium launched at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Conference in Boston. The goal of the newly formed organization is to put solar on roof of every school from kindergarten to high school. That would be almost 140,000 schools if you look at how many schools the National Center for Education Statistics states there are in the U.S.
At launch the consortium includes 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. Together, consortium members plan act as a unified voice to put solar on schools, already a growing movement across the U.S. The 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.
“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,” said Prof. Sharon Dannels, Chair of the Educational Leadership Department at the GW Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Already those schools with solar are seeing the benefits of lower energy costs as well.
“More and more schools across the country are discovering the benefits of going solar,” added Rhone Resch, SEIA CEO. “For schools, solar can provide a curriculum where science, economics and the environment all intersect.”
The consortium’s goals for 2020 are to see solar panels installed 20,000 schools and universities, have 2,000 member organizations and support 200 solar school initiatives at the district level, according to the initiative’s site: https://www.solarschools2020.org/. In addition to its goals, the site also features a number resources aimed at helping schools reduce their energy use, create curriculums around energy conservation and clean orsolar energy, develop projects and apply for grants and awards.
Solar-powered schools can greatly help reduce pollution while also serving as an educational tool for students and showing them 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,” Dannels said.
Consortium members are presenting at several workshops during the NSTA Conference at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. During these presentations consortium representatives will encourage attendees to explain what their needs for going solar at the school level are.