Why More Schools Should Be Switching to Solar Energy Now
New Zealand has set itself the goal of being 90 percent renewable energy reliant by 2025. That’s quite a tall order, but it is in keeping with some other forward-thinking countries who want to reduce pollution: Norway, Britain, France, The Netherlands, Germany, and India will ban the sale of fossil fuel and combustion engine cars within the next decade. China is considering doing the same.
All the more reason for education to lead the way, not just by informing people about the benefits of renewable energy, but by installing solar energy in all the schooling institutions all over the country. Solar generation should be used by the generation of school children who will be most reliant on solar power.
How Fast is Solar Powered Energy Expanding in NZ?
The total of solar installations has doubled every year in the last 3 years. It is proof that the average Kiwi household has made a commitment to making the change to alternate energy. The process should be happening even faster in schools. And here’s the reason why.
Sunshine & Schools
Schooling hours and sunshine coincide. This is what makes educational facilities ideal candidates for solar powered energy. What also makes schools perfect for solar panel installation are the long rows of rooves where the photovoltaic panels are placed for optimal exposure.
The slant of the average school roof is very well-placed to catch the maximum amount of sun rays. Added to these advantages, there are usually no low hanging tree branches over an educational facility’s structure.
When the school is not in use during the holidays, the energy produced by the panels can be sold back to the grid for profit. The savings gained from not using the energy produced during the summer vacation can net schools up to $5000 every year.
This money will initially help to pay off the installation costs which are priced at around $20,000 to $60,000. These costs are lowered all the time with new technology and better production. Once that initial outlay has been settled, the extra money can be used for improving other amenities.
So Why Aren’t More Schools Solar Powered?
Maybe because the country’s gross emissions having decreased in the last few years, is the reason behind the lack of drive to change New Zealand’s schools to green power. The reduction is due to coal and gas no longer being used so heavily. The drop in the amount of sheep being reared has also had an effect on gross emissions.
Some of the schools who have installed solar panels have been able to knock down their power consumption by almost 70%. This should be motivation enough for this conservation practice to become more widespread.
Schools who have embraced the solar energy lifestyle by installing photovoltaic panels have used the extra money from reduced power bills to channel it back into LED lighting conversion.
The Ministry of Education pays towards a school’s electricity, heating, and water budgets. The amount is based on the average power usage for any like-sized school in the same area. So, the bigger the school grounds and rooms, the bigger their subsidiary funding.
If a school can save on its water, electricity, and heating, however, it still receives the subsidiary funding but it allowed to use it for other things.
This alone should be motivation enough for every educational institution in New Zealand to swap to solar powered energy. Saving money and helping save the world are two good things to start teaching in schools right away.