Released September 18, 2014 - Executive Summary
The impressive and precipitous rise of the U.S. solar industry is well documented. As of the writing of this report, total installed solar electric capacity neared 16 gigawatts (GW), providing enough solar electricity to power over 3.2 million average U.S. households. By the end of 2014, this figure is expected to surpass 20 GW- more than four times the total amount of solar capacity that existed in the U.S. just three years ago. Of the more than 500,000 homes, businesses and public entities that have now installed a solar energy system, over 3,700 of those systems are located on public and private K-12 schools in the U.S.
While thousands of schools have already realized the cost savings and other benefits of installed solar energy capacity, this opportunity is generally underutilized. The large, flat rooftops typically found on public and private K-12 school buildings throughout the United States make many of these properties excellent candidates for rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal systems. School parking lots can be put to productive use with solar PV canopies, which provide the added benefit of shading parked vehicles on sunny days, and tracts of vacant land on campus can be used to support modestly-sized solar PV farms. Taken together, this untapped potential for solar on K-12 schools is immense. If each of the more than 72,000 schools for which solar could represent a cost-effective investment were to install an average-sized system, total PV capacity on K-12 schools would reach 5.4 GW – an amount equal to more than one-third of all the solar PV capacity currently installed in the United States. read more>>>