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Apr 25th 2017

A Bright Future: Commercial Solar Power Solutions for Educational Facilities

Commercial Solar PowerUtility costs are one of the few areas of a school’s budget that is difficult to trim without negatively affecting the student experience. Because of this, a growing number of administrators have been exploring the benefits of commercial solar power solutions for their educational facilities.

Many school buildings have flat, large rooftops (ideal for rooftop solar photovoltaic) making them a good candidate for solar conversion, especially those with large campuses. In addition, many campuses also often have school parking lots which could be used to install solar PV canopies to harness the sun’s power and provide shaded parking for students and faculty at the same time.

Renewing Energy for Educational Facilities through Commercial Solar Power

According to, the average school building in the United States is 42 years old. Due to the inefficiency of current (and often older) systems, energy costs in schools are estimated to be about 25% more than what is actually needed for daily operations.

In fact, the Department of Energy reports that taxpayers spend approximately $6 billion on energy costs for K-12 schools each year. This is more than money spent on textbooks and computers combined; it’s the second highest expenditure after salaries.

Saving with Commercial Solar Power for Schools

From lighting and cooling to running equipment (such as computers) and space heating needs, today’s technology has significantly increased the energy demands a school must meet. To combat these demands, many institutions are turning to solar power solutions.

A report by The Solar Foundation, with research assistance from the Solar Energy Industries Association found that one of the most frequently cited reasons schools give for going solar is the opportunity to save money. “From 2010 to the second quarter of 2014, average installed costs for commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have fallen by over 50 percent.”

But as with all commercial solar projects, the amount a school can save by switching to solar energy will vary depending on a variety of factors including location, current energy demands and the type of solar power system installed.

Top States with Commercial Solar Power in School

The report also identified the top 10 states with the highest installed K-12 school solar photovoltaic capacity including:

  1. California
  2. New Jersey
  3. Arizona
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Nevada
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. Ohio
  8. Connecticut
  9. Maryland
  10. New York

For the schools that are not currently utilizing solar energy as a power source, it’s estimated that 99.1% could save money by making the switch.

Schools Taking Pride in Commercial Solar Power

The benefits of commercial solar power for schools are similar to the benefits of solar power for businesses. For educational facilities, solar power solutions can easily offset growing utility bills and may even provide the opportunity to make the switch to a 100% renewable energy organization. But as an added bonus, using solar energy in schools opens a unique teaching opportunity that can enrich classroom learning with real-world examples about the benefits of renewable energy sources such as solar.

Solar power also represents a significant highlight for colleges and universities who are also looking for ways to attract students and faculty, many of whom base their choice of schools on a commitment to sustainability.

Solar Solutions for Schools

Depending on the layout of a campus and the nature of a facility, school administrators have multiple solar power options to consider. From roof-mount solar installation and parking lot solar canopies to ground-mount solar installation, choosing the most effective type of solar power configuration can feel like a complicated decision. Fortunately, KMB Solar Design Engineers are here to guide you through every step of the way and make your solar design a reality.

Contact us to find out more about how going solar can benefit your school today.