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Schools are turning to solar energy to help save money as budgets in school systems across the country are falling short. By investing in solar energy, school districts can increase teacher wages, purchase new supplies and equipment and help students.

Source: NowThis Earth/YouTube

According to new data by Generation180, one in 10 schools across the country were using solar energy at the beginning of this year. Generation180 is a nonprofit that promotes and tracks clean energy and notes this is twice as much as there was just 7 years ago. The savings in electric bills are helping schools send those funds into other places that it is desperately needed.

According to the government, after salaries, energy is the biggest expense for public K-12 schools. This equals around $8 billion a year. Now, thanks to new federal funding and climate legislation, schools can focus on energy upgrades.

The New York Times reported that if roughly all 130,000 K-12 schools were to fully transition to solar, there would be an annual reduction of  60 million metric tons in carbon emissions, according to Generation180. This is the equivalent of shutting down 16 coal-fired power plants.

Source: Mashable/YouTube

Generation180 also reported that roughly 8,400 schools had solar installations as of early this year. These schools generate enough energy to power 300,000 homes. This is triple the solar capacity that schools had just eight years ago.

Projects worldwide are developing new ways to utilize solar panels and move away from dirty fossil fuels. Architecture students in Barcelona just built a solar-powered greenhouse that uses 50 percent less energy than it produces. Virginia is transforming abandoned coal mines into solar farms, and a start-up is helping retrofit old buildings in Brooklyn to use clean energy. The latest climate report from the IPCC is a final warning for governments around the world about global warming, so it’s great to see companies taking the initiative and working towards a renewable future!

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