On November 9th, 2015, Secure Futures announced a $1m solar incentive program for K-12 public and private schools throughout Virginia, with the goal of installing over 16 Megawatts (MW) of distributed solar energy in 2016, doubling Virginia’s installed solar capacity through 2014. The Spotlight on Solar Education initiative focuses on helping schools go solar with no money down, and empowering schools and students to discover the benefits of solar by incorporating free Solar Spotlights with each installation.
Solar Spotlights, or Solar Trees – valued at $50,000 each – are 20 feet in height, using 6 solar panels to generate 1.5 kilowatts of solar electricity. Each tree supports a table at the base of the structure, and USB ports for students to charge cell phones, and other devices, discovering the benefits of solar energy in real time.
The Spotlight on Solar Education campaign will eliminate the cost barriers to solar, and highlight the educational and environmental benefits of schools using solar energy. As key drivers of our next generation, schools are the launchpads for an informed workforce. By integrating sustainable energy and technology into our school’s curriculum, the Solar Spotlight initiative will provide faculty and students with the tools to respond to the world’s toughest problems as students see and feel firsthand the incredible power of solar energy.
“Schools are now realizing they can save money using solar energy financed by Secure Futures,” said Tony Smith, president and CEO of Secure Futures. “The challenge is how to feature these non-visible roof systems in a tangible way students can interact with. By incorporating Solar Spotlights with each system, students will discover these benefits in real time.”
In May, Secure Futures launched the Virginia Solar Schools initiative with the announcement of a 1 Megawatt project with Albemarle County Public Schools. In July, Lexington City Schools joined Albemarle under the new program. Both school districts are incorporating free Solar Spotlights to enhance their curriculum and student experience in going solar.
Check out our Solar Schools webpage to learn more about the Spotlight on Solar Education initiative, and spread the word, tagging your school on Facebook and Twitter using #16in2016 and #studentpoweredsolar.