A group of nonprofits and solar companies across the nation form the National Solar Schools Consortium to help more schools go solar. The goal of the Consortium is to act as a unified voice for the growing solar schools movement.
We’ve done a number of stories in recent months on schools around the country going solar. Schools have a number of strong motivations for installing solar, the most obvious being the savings — which many of them sorely need. Schools can also use solar as an educational tool, serve as a model for their community, and help promote the health of their community by cutting emissions.
However, schools — or at least, school districts — have often had to find their way on their own. In spite of the increasing number of schools with solar, and the clear benefits, installing a solar system on a school can still be tricky, and many schools are not yet part of the trend. Now there’s help to change this.
Today, nonprofit organizations and solar companies from across the nation announced the launch of the National Solar Schools Consortium at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Conference in Boston.
The goal of the Consortium is to act as a unified voice for the growing solar schools movement. The Consortium will promote the use of solar energy on K-12 and post-secondary schools, consolidate and coordinate current and future solar curriculum and resource development, and provide tools to help schools explore solar energy options both on campus and in the surrounding community.
“It’s estimated that thousands of schools across America have already installed solar panels – but tens of thousands of others are still tethered to fossil fuels,” said Prof. Sharon Dannels, Chair of the Educational Leadership Department at the GW Graduate School of Education and Human Development. “According to a recent study of California schools, an average-sized 313 kilowatt solar system prevents the emission of an estimated 200 pounds of smog-forming pollution a year.”
To kick off its efforts, Consortium representatives are presenting at several workshops at the NSTA Conference. Interested stakeholders can also communicate their needs for solar at their schools by completing a brief form on the Consortium website.
“More and more schools across the country are discovering the benefits of going solar,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Today, solar is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in America, creating thousands of new jobs, pumping billions of dollars into the U.S. economy and helping to reduce pollution. For schools, solar can provide a curriculum where science, economics and the environment all intersect. SEIA is honored to be part of the National Solar Schools Consortium.”
The Consortium comprises representatives of leading environmental, educational, and solar-focused nonprofit organizations, as well as for-profit solar businesses. Founding Consortium members include the Brian D. Robertson Memorial Solar Schools Fund, Community Power Network, Elephant Energy, the Foundation for Environmental Education, KidWind, Make It Right Solar, Mosaic, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Solar Energy Industries Association, The Solar Foundation, SolSolution, The Three Birds Foundation, and Women in Solar. For more information on joining the Consortium, contact Andrea Luecke.