Creative Solar USA has completed its installation of a solar generation facility on the roof of Dade County High School. It is expected to reduce the school's electric bill by thousands of dollars a year.
A grant from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) helped pay the upfront cost of solar equipment. The 60-kilowatt installation is part of ongoing improvements that reduce energy, utility costs and greenhouse gas emissions in school operations.
Earlier efforts included a new energy-efficient HVAC system for the school and LED lights, said Dr. Jan Harris, superintendent of Dade County Schools. Already, she said, savings from those efforts have helped to allow funds previously consumed by utility bills to be directed into other school needs. "We're hoping the solar panels will help reduce our [utility] cost even more," she said.
She said Dade County is proud to have the solar panels in place, and the team found the installation process to be a positive experience.
Schools across the nation are on the forefront of solar energy adoption. Not only do the utility bill savings allow more resources to be devoted to classroom needs like supplies and teacher salaries, the solar technology provides inspiration to students for STEM subjects.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, about 5 percent of the nation's schools now use solar energy. Across the U.S., more than 5,500 U.S. elementary, middle and high schools have deployed 910 megawatts of solar, enough to power 190,000 homes.