Released in January 2006, the Solar Secure Schools: Strategies and Guidelines report, issued by the Golden, CO-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory, provides information on the tangible value school-based solar power systems provide. Benefits noted in the report include:
- Because school buildings are often used as shelters during major disasters, an “energy-secure school” would be protected against grid and natural gas supply disruptions.
- Additionally, a “solar-secure school” would be insulated from significant unplanned increases in its annual energy bill.
Use of solar power is advantageous to schools that are especially vulnerable to rate increases. “With no way of generating extra revenues to pay for unexpected costs, schools must cut programs and staff when energy bills rise unexpectedly,” the report explains.
With capital budgets tight and a third of all bond issues rejected by voters, purchasing and maintaining the equipment may be a struggle. However, assistance is available. “Solar-service companies are emerging that offer attractive solar electricity prices and take full long-term responsibility for operation and maintenance of school-based solar power in return for use of the school roofs as solar power array mounting platforms,” the report explains.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is based in Golden, CO. It is a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. To read the complete Solar Secure Schools: Strategies and Guidelines report, visit (www.nrel.gov/docs/fy06osti/38435.pdf).