In the United States, the primary way the government encourages (or discourage) the use of various types of energy is through tax credits. Solar energy systems, alternative fuel vehicles, ethanol, and oil production are all subsidized through various types of tax credits. Unfortunately, non-tax-paying entities like schools and churches have no tax liability to apply the credits to, and are unable to take advantage of one of the primary incentive available to install solar energy systems.
While some schools have found creative ways to finance and install solar energy systems, most lack the capacity and resources to do so. Our vision in creating our schools programs is to empower schools to use solar energy to save money, generate clean power and teach students about renewable energy technologies.
At TSF, we are excited about the prospect to help teach the next generation of students about the benefits of solar energy, and to help bring the benefits of clean energy to local communities. We believe that energy literacy is an essential skill for citizens of the modern world and that solar energy is an effective educational vehicle for teaching students how to be conscious of their energy use.
The National Solar Schools Consortium
The Consortium is designed to act as unified voice for the growing solar schools movement, promoting the use of solar energy on K-12 and post-secondary schools. Find out more about the Consortium, its efforts, and its members at www.solarschools2020.org.
National Solar Schools Census
TSF has been active in tracking the number of schools in the U.S. that have gone solar. Check out our pin map to find the solar schools near you!
Brian D. Robertson Memorial Solar Schools Fund
In pursuit of a shared vision to have 20,000 solar energy systems installed on K-12 schools by 2020, TSF collects and manages monetary, equipment, or in-kind donations in support of the Brian D. Robertson Memorial Solar Schools Fund.
Solar on Schools Resource Guide for K-12
In fall 2012, The Solar Foundation partnered with Community Power Network to produce a Solar on Schools Resource Guide for K-12, designed to connect school staff and interested citizens with the leading resources on how their schools can go solar. Topics covered include how to assess the suitability of school property for solar, the various ways in which these installations can be financed, and how schools can incorporate solar science into the curricula to add educational value to their solar energy systems.