Powering up the Idea of Solar Panels in South African Schools

The large flat roof of a school building is a great place for solar panels. Since Solar Energy became rentable, Many institutions with massive energy bills are realizing how much money they can save by having their own power station on their roofs.

There is already a strong case for residential rooftop solar, but now let’s take a look at why the adoption of Solar Energy can lead to better schools.

Financial Stability

The main reason that schools are becoming more interested in the use of solar power is a desire to save money, there are other energy options that cut carbon emissions but not all of them produce stable long term financial savings, as of 2016, solar is the cheapest source of energy in the world, with the clear trend being that the bigger the solar system is the more money is saved per watt, solar paneling significantly offset a schools monthly utility bills, additionally on weekends and school holidays the the power can be sold back into the grid; net metering is when the utility company pays you back for any excess unused solar energy you ‘feed back’ into the grid.

Spend more on education

Significant savings can mean volumes to schools such as – the ability to pay better teachers or increase salaries, spend more money on recreational and educational facilities like libraries and playgrounds, build better classes and make improvements to existing facilities, buy better equipment like computers and sports supplies, lower tuition fees and most fun of all take more field trips. If you were a principal wouldn’t you want to save money/add these benefits?                                                                                                                               

Educational benefits  

Solar panel systems provide students with an incredible hands-on learning opportunity in the areas of Physics, Geography, Engineering, Math, Design, Technology and IT by providing an ideal starting point to show students how their studies apply to everyday life. Students may  use system performance data to calculate how much energy is being produced per year by the school’s panels and financial savings of such an investment into a renewable energy system? Calculate how many solar panels are needed in their homes to maintain their family’s energy usage? Investigate how system tilt angles, orientation and insolation affect energy output and use what they learn  to figure the best position for the solar panel? Many schools with solar have  integrated their system into their learning curriculum.   

Career opportunities

The installation of Solar Panels create technical career pathways for youth to excel by raising their awareness of the green energy technologies of the future. The number of jobs in this field has increased by 10% per annum since 2010.

Solar carports

Solar carports are able to optimize under utilized space in school parking lots by providing  solar mounted shade and shelter for parked vehicles from the elements and keeping vehicles cooler, providing additional roof space for generating electricity and additional cost savings, eliminating weight restrictions of rooftop solar panel installation, adding a modern aesthetic with minimal interference with the area’s landscape and displaying a demonstration of green initiatives

Setting an Example

Having solar panels installed can help a schools can present a cleaner image of energy. This in turn does wonders for said schools public relations, as the sustainability movement has gained much momentum in the past few years. Not to mention placing themselves on the right foot with stakeholders who are concerned with proper environmental practices.

Compatibility

Schools require electricity during daylight hours, which is when solar power is generated. In order to account for any nighttime use of power, grid power can be utilized or an efficient battery bank can be installed.

Schools are the beating hearts of our communities – and taking the business, moral and educational benefits into consideration of installing solar  – we hope that you would agree with us that schools should have the benefit of generating their own renewable energy.

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