Back to School: Three Lessons on Solar Energy

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As teachers put the finishing touches on their classrooms, parents quickly stock up on school supplies, and kids excitedly rush into the new school year, it seems like the perfect time for a back-to-school refresher on solar energy for towns and schools - a solar energy 101 if you will. Refresh your knowledge with a look at three key trends in solar energy as it relates to towns and schools.

Solar energy systems are more accessible than ever through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).

It is no surprise that PPAs are growing in popularity across the Commonwealth as a way to reduce operating expenses and pride clean energy for a brighter future. With a PPA, your town or school can benefit from solar energy with minimal capital expenditures. Solar companies can lease your roof, meaning no upfront costs, free system installation and ongoing maintenance for 20 years, all while selling the electricity generated back to you at a fraction of what the utility is charging you now. One attractive option also provides a fixed rate for the entire lease term, allowing you to avoid the inevitable inflation of electricity rates over the coming years.

Solar isn’t just for rooftops.

Some roofs are not ideal for solar energy systems as a result of limited space. In these cases, solar canopies are a great way to increase revenue and to provide protected parking. They essentially act as carports that provide protected parking in addition to being paired with electric vehicle chargers.

Energy storage can reduce demand charges and provide electric backup.

Massachusetts has recently passed incentives for energy storage systems. These systems allow you to reduce costs by lowering monthly demand charges, which can be as much as 75% of the entire bill! Storage systems can also provide backup power by keeping critical systems operating during power outages. Additionally, storage allows you the ability to “island” a system; basically permitting the solar array to be disconnected from the grid during outages and be used to charge the energy storage system directly.

As school begins and we transition into fall, it’s important to prepare for upcoming budget planning and the end-of-the-year push. Along with your back to school shopping, solar energy should be at the top of your list this year for fall projects.

 

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