The Batesville School District in Arkansas made the switch from normal electrical energy to solar energy back in 2017. In about 3 years, they have saved millions on energy costs and redirected that money to their staff. All they had to do was install solar panels!
Entegrity is an energy efficiency company that audited the district and told them they were running on $250,000 of a deficit. But they were spending over $600,000 each year for 6 school buildings. Shocked by the numbers, the superintendent Michael Hester tooled a bond. Hester’s money was used to make the switch to 1400 PV solar panels.
Solar Panel Investment
In the next three years, this investment turned their deficit into a $1.8 million surplus. This money was then put to appropriate use, and the salaries of the teachers were increased. This, in turn, increased the test scores of the school district since they could hold on to better teachers for longer. Soon this example was followed by other neighboring school districts too. So not only are they helping the environment, but actually making a profit out of it all!
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The administrators were worried about public opinion regarding the solar panel since it was located near a coal-fired plant. But they found a sympathetic audience. One report shows how the public views solar power to represent the ‘jobs of the future’.
Batesville, along with multiple other school districts across the country, has been making this change to solar power. As of 2019, 5.3 million American students were attending schools powered by solar energy.
It is important to teach the future generation the value of non-renewable resources. If we don’t take the necessary steps immediately, it the next generations that will suffer the most. Batesville has shown how not only making such changes helps the earth but also serves other purposes. With low salaries, quality teachers frequently left the school, but not that has changed. Given the multiple benefits this one Arkansas school district has reaped from the switch, the rest can surely take notes and make the right decisions.
Image Featured: Jacek Nowak