As part of its commitment to increase understanding on the use of solar at K-12 schools, The Solar Foundation (TSF) and its research partners at SEIA have built the most comprehensive database known of K-12 schools that have gone solar throughout the United States.

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TSF’s National Solar Schools Census serves as a starting point for sharing ideas and best practices between schools experienced with solar energy and those seeking to join their ranks. Each solar school has its own unique story to tell on how their systems were financed and installed and how (and whether) solar has been integrated into class curricula.

In TSF’s report, entitled Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools, our team uncovered a number of key findings from our data collection and analysis:

  • There are currently 3,752 K-12 schools with solar installations, meaning nearly 2.7 million students attend schools with solar energy systems.
  • The 3,727 PV systems have a combined capacity of 490 megawatts (MW), and generate roughly 642,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity each year,equivalent to $77.8 million worth of utility bills and enough clean, renewable energy to offset 50 million gallons of gasoline.
  • Solar potential remains largely untapped. Of the 125,000 K-12 schools in the country, up to 72,000 schools (60%) can “go solar” cost-effectively. Approximately 450 individual schools districts have the potential to save more than $1 million over 30 years by installing a solar PV system.

SchoolCensusInfographicThe pin map above provides information on the solar status of every K-12 school in the U.S.. Schools that have already gone solar are indicated by the “Sun” pins. Non-solar schools with a green or yellow round marker are those with the potential to go solar cost-effectively now, according to an original analysis conducted by TSF and SEIA.

The data underpinning the National Solar Schools Census were carefully collected over 16 months from hundreds of public and private sources. Though this database is the most comprehensive known, it is by no means complete. If you know of a school that has gone solar and is not included in our database, help us make sure it gets counted! Simply provide as much information you can in this simple web form, and our team will vet your entry and include it in our periodic database updates.

This report was supported in part by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Solar Outreach partnership, a multi-organizational effort to help increase the use and integration of solar energy in communities across the United States. More information about this program is available For other TSF products prepared under this program, please visit our Solar Outreach Partnership page.

If your school or school district is considering going solar and needs help, contact The Solar Foundation for FREE technical assistance, courtesy of the US Department of Energy’s SolarOutreach Partnership program.