Schools across Nevada are being outfitted with tools that will not only decrease their power consumption and save them money, but will also offer students studying renewable energy an up-close look at a key technology. According to the state, photovoltaic (PV) solar panels have or will be installed on the rooftops of 58 elementary and high schools.
The solar installations come courtesy $9.5 million from Nevada’s State Office of Energy, which was funded by the 2009 federal stimulus. Seven of Nevada’s school districts have either completed or are working on solar installations through the program. In addition to the solar power systems, the funding provides schools with the resources to update to energy efficient lighting, make HVAC system upgrades and for other energy conservation methods.
Washoe County installed 1.13 megawatts of solar at 23 schools, including 18 elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools. Clark County added 50-kilowatt PV systems at 24 elementary schools and one career and technical academy high school. Other districts installing solar include Churchill, Esmeralda, Lander, Pershing and Storey counties.
For the schools, the savings in energy bills can be substantial. The state put estimated savings for Lovelock Elementary School, Pershing County Middle School and Pershing County High School at about $280,000 each year, for instance. The solar installations also make a great learning tool for science teachers in the districts who want to show students how renewable energy can help reduce energy costs.