NC GreenPower, a nonprofit supporting renewable energy and carbon offset initiatives, is helping to change how our world is powered, one school at a time. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, North Carolina consumes almost four times more energy than it produces. NC GreenPower is looking to amend that with the goal of adding 5-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to North Carolina schools throughout the state’s 100 counties. That amount of clean power is equivalent of more than 27,000 pounds of coal burned each year per school.
In 2015, Solar+ Schools kicked off as a pilot program, selecting up to five eligible schools annually to receive a solar energy grant. Last year, the number of participants doubled. In all, NC GreenPower has provided 34 schools with solar installations, and helping to power these schools are hundreds of PV solar modules donated by SunPower.
During the initial launch, NC GreenPower provided its solar-powered schools with production projections of up to 6,500 kilowatt-hours a year. What the organization didn’t expect was for production to be significantly higher. Delivering on their claim to fame, SunPower’s highly efficient modules have exceeded expectations, with some school projects producing over 8,000 kilowatt-hours per year. Because of this, many schools have experienced an increase in their annual savings, which has been appreciated not only by the schools but also by NC GreenPower. The organization has long acknowledged the quality, performance and reliability that SunPower’s solar solutions are providing for its schools.
While the savings are a desirable benefit, teachers are finding great value in the hands-on learning opportunities as well. NC GreenPower provides instructors with a STEM-based curriculum and training from NEED.org to give students a closer look at how solar power works. These teachers have the potential to mentor the next solar pioneers, creating a more sustainable future through careers in clean energy. The crucial role solar power can play in our nation’s schools is the exact reason the Solar+ Schools program will continue to grow and evolve.
2021 will be the program’s most ambitious year yet, kicking off a goal of awarding PV systems to 15 schools. Applications for the new campaign are officially open until February 28, 2021. Schools interested in participating just need to answer a few simple questions to get the process started.
NC GreenPower has been instrumental to helping schools across North Carolina sport SunPower solar panels, but SunPower’s work with schools doesn’t stop there. SunPower has enabled school districts nationwide to discover savings through solar power. And by savings, we mean millions of dollars. Just a few featured on this list include Kern High School District, Porterville United School District and San Benito High School. All have put these additional funds back into their respective districts to further improve programs and facility needs. Contact a SunPower representative to find out how your school could benefit from solar energy.