There are now over 5,000 schools across the country with solar installations. These schools are saving money on electric bills, educating students about clean energy, and ensuring a brighter future for the next generation. A dramatic decline in the cost of solar panels — combined with new financing options — has now made solar widely accessible, creating tremendous untapped potential among the majority of our schools still without solar.
Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools, 2nd Edition, is a report by The Solar Foundation, Generation 180, and the Solar Energy Industries Association. Released in November 2017, it is the most comprehensive study to date on solar at K-12 schools nationwide. As a follow-up to the first edition released in 2014, this report captures the accelerating trends of solar adoption at U.S. schools.
Key findings of this report include:
- There are now 5,489 K-12 solar schools in the United States that use solar energy, with a combined capacity of 910 megawatts — nearly double the total solar capacity installed at schools in 2014.
- The amount of electricity these schools produce annually, at 1.4 million megawatt-hours, is enough to power over 190,000 homes.
- The average price of a solar school installation has dropped 67 percent in the last 10 years, and 19 percent in 2016 alone.
- California leads the nation in the number of solar schools by state, with 1,946 solar schools and a 489 MW capacity. Nevada has the highest adoption rate, with 23 percent of schools using solar energy statewide. Arizona has the most solar capacity on a per capita basis, at 86 watts per student.
This report includes several in-depth cases studies that demonstrate how schools across the United States have gone through the process of installing solar. It also features a detailed “how-to guide” that provides step-by-step advice for schools and school districts.
In conjunction with this report, clean energy nonprofit Generation 180 is launching a national Solar Schools Campaign to mobilize parents, students, school districts, and local leaders. Learn more.