Prince William County schools are going solar.
Twelve schools – including three high schools, two middle schools and seven elementary schools -- will be fitted with rooftop solar panels this year in a partnership with Secure Solar Futures, a group that provides clean energy infrastructure and education to K-12 schools.
“The schools will showcase solar power systems right on location. That will send a powerful message to students that they don’t have to wait for the clean energy economy to arrive in the future. It’s already here,” Ryan McAllister, chief executive officer of Secure Solar Futures, said in a news release.
The schools with roofs in the best condition were chosen for solar panels, according to Prince William County schools Energy Education Coordinator Jennifer Rokasky.
“Because the solar panels will be up there for 25 years, we chose schools with new or newly replaced roofs,” Rokasky said.
Each school’s output of energy will differ according to their roof’s orientation, but Rokasky said that about 50% of each school’s energy will be provided by its solar panels. Altogether, the solar panels are predicted to generate 10 million kilowatt-hours of electric energy per year.
The panels will generate an amount of electricity equal to that needed to power 779 homes and will prevent 4,005 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere annually, according to a school division news release.
Workers will begin installing the panels this spring, and they are expected to be finished by the end of 2023.
The panels will be owned and operated by Secure Solar Futures, which will sell the power to schools for a reduced rate. This arrangement will save the school system an estimated $16 million over the next 25 years.
“The partnership between PWCS and Solar Futures continues to ensure the fulfillment of PWCS’ commitment to sustainability, the environment, environmental literacy, and reducing the carbon footprint,” the school division news release said.
Secure Solar Futures also has an educational program called Throwing Solar Shade, which gives high school students the opportunity to learn about climate change and clean energy through research projects.
Reach Anya Sczerzenie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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