Why all schools need solar power—coupled with battery backup

kids at a school with solar panels

Installing solar panels to generate power for large commercial institutions such as schools, can help reduce electricity costs significantly. With the huge power sink in schools, plus an average lifespan of 25 years for the system, solar power investment can save millions of dollars over the long term.

Coupling solar with energy storage ensures safety, and that schedules continue uninterrupted … even in a massive blackout.

Case in point is when close to 18,500 people in the mid and northern areas of the city of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada—were left in the dark on the evening of Monday, November 14, 2016—because a transformer had blown out. Even after initial repairs, a second transformer blew out too.

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology, a major educational facility in the city—had to cancel all of its evening classes due to the outage.

Schools can protect against rising electricity costs, save on carbon emissions and tackle climate change by going solar. Adding energy storage to the mix enables schools to ‘self-consume’ a higher percentage of the power that their solar panels produce.

Another example in support of coupling solar and storage is the case of power loss at the False Bay school, on Lasqueti Island, B.C., Canada.

The school’s Principal, Reid Wilson only discovered that the school’s diesel generator which they use for backup power had broken down when the entire building suddenly went dark.

“The solar power system was just kicking out tons of power to the point where we virtually didn’t run our generators at all,” he said. “We didn’t even know (the generator) was broken for a while.”

The normal schedules at this school had to be canceled for two days to fix the generator.

The Canadian Press reports that the school had been running entirely on solar during the dark, wet, dreary October days.

Although the school has reduced its diesel fuel use from about 16,000 liters annually to about 6,000 liters, reducing carbon emissions by about 28 tons a year, this power loss situation wouldn’t have occurred if there had been an energy storage system in place.

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