Using School Infrastructure For
I'm a big fan of cross-pollination of ideas.
In 2017, The Batesville, Arkansas School District in Little Rock commissioned an energy audit. The audit suggested $2.4 million over 20 years could be saved if 1400 solar panels were installed on Batesville High School (along with updating lights, heating and cooling systems, and windows).
The school district ended up saving 1.6 million kilowatts annually and created a $1.8 million surplus in three years.
SJASD has an opportunity to be a leader in Canada. The energy savings could go towards desperately needed school programs while at the same time energizing students about the possibilities of green technology. Discussions with Manitoba Hydro could help allow for more clean energy exports.
American energy companies reduce the upfront costs to school districts of installing solar panels. Nearly 80% of American public school solar capacity was installed at the expense of energy companies. While Batesville couldn't use this method, it did raise $5.4 million via a bond.
For our planet and our children's future, we have to start thinking outside the box. SJASD needs to examine the use of its parking lots as solar energy collection centers and putting solar panels on all the roofs of each building in the school division.
Although Efficiency Manitoba has promised a permanent rebate for installing solar panels, Manitoba's track record for harnessing solar power needs improvement. Why not start at the school board level? The use of green bond fundraising is an effective way to build green infrastructure. What of the greening of every roof of every building in the school division?