Repower Our Schools Coalition Starts Solar Schools Tour in NC
by Caroline Hansley
April 6, 2015
Repower Our Schools Kicks Off Solar School Road Tour in North Carolina
This spring, students, teachers, and community members in Durham and Charlotte, NC have been busy. As the number of minutes the sun is shining increases each day, so too is the communitys appetite for solar energy to power our schools.
The Rolling Sunlight, Greenpeaces solar power demonstration truck with a mural specifically for North Carolina & Repower Our Schools tour.
In January, the Repower Our Schools campaign launched to call on school districts to commit to powering their operations with 100% renewable energy. There are already 3,752 K-12 schools in the United States with solar installations, meaning nearly 2.7 million students attend schools with solar energy systems. Since North Carolina is #2 in the nation for installing solar, it is high time some of that technology, energy savings, and power be directed toward our public schools.
The benefits of Repowering Our Schools – its a win-win-win.
Story after story after story has shown us that schools across the nation are already saving money by making the switch to solar. After schools install renewables, solar can be integrated into the curriculum, giving students access to real-world science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experiences.
Schools are also ideal locations for solar energy installations.For one, most school grounds remain unshaded between 9am and 3pm, when school is in session. Most also have adequate space for panels, and not just on roofs. Here in North Carolina, we are home to the first net-positive K-12 school, where Sandy Grove Middle is shining bright with more than 2,300 roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels, allowing the school to run on 100% renewable energy and produce 30-40 percent more energy than it uses. By showing solar power in action, schools are educating not just their students but the rest of the community about the benefits of this local job-creating energy source.
Its really no surprise that K-12 schools are among the fastest adopters of affordable solar power in the United States. When it comes to financing solar projects the cost of panels has dropped 80% since 2008, and it’s cheaper to install solar at 20 or more schools at once than at each school individually. For financially strapped schools, additional resources for students matters.
Bringing solar directly to K-12 students
Whats twenty-four feet long, eight feet wide, and eleven feet long? The Rolling Sunlight! This mobile solar truck is a mini-laboratory for students, teachers, parents, staff, and community members to engage with solar in a hands-on way. It features a mural painted specifically for the Repower Our Schools campaign, featuring North Carolinas state flower, the dogwood, and when fully deployed, it boasts 256 square feet of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The panels and batteries the truck carries would power one typical US household, or three energy efficient homes, when fully charged.
The Rolling Sunlight will tour the state to provide students with a hands-on experience of solar and show what renewable energy can mean for both their schools and their future. It will also highlight how Charlotte & Durham school boards can lead the way in North Carolina by committing their districts to 100% renewable energy.
The Rolling Sunlight has a colorful history of traveling around the continent to raise awareness about climate change. Most recently the truck traveled to Rockaway Beach in 2012 to supply much-needed power to a community in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Now this Greenpeace vehicle will make its way to the Tarheel state to show communities the massive potential of solar energy here.
Stay tuned for updates!
This North Carolina solar schools tour aims to inspire schools districts to strive for 21st century excellence by committing to 100% renewable energy. Imagine classrooms powered directly by solar energy, providing hands-on learning experiences for students, and saving money that can be reinvested in teachers, classroom resources, and our children.