A Need for Change?
As the world’s reserves in oil steadily declines the pressures to find alternate energies steadily increases. It is estimated that by 2040 the world production levels of oil will decrease to only 15 million barrels per day, an 80% reduction on what we presently consume on a daily basis.
It makes sense to harness something that doesn’t run out, like the sun’s energy. Solar energy is a great source of renewable power and as the oil continues to run out it is becoming more essential that young minds are educated in green energy.
James Morrall, expert in solar panels. Poole explains that solar power is a great alternate energy “Schools using solar panels is a brilliant step in the right direction. Solar panels can make a massive difference to reducing your carbon footprint, to put this into perspective; the UK’s power needs could be met if only 1% of the country was covered in solar panels. That’s around the size of the county Derbyshire.
Putting the Solar into the Schoolyard
A number of schools are part of an innovative scheme called Solar Schools. The schools take it upon themselves to raise money for solar panels to be installed on the school roofs or in the grounds. The scheme is run by 10:10, an association with over 100,000 members who aim to tackle climate change and reduce their carbon emissions by 10% in one year. Solar Schools are a branch of 10:10 and they aim to put clean, green power into classrooms across the country.
Installing solar panels in schools is a great project. Not only does it help to save money for the school, meaning that they can put money back into the pupils’ education but it also teaches the children extremely valuable lessons for the future in living sustainably. One school in Cambridge, Newnham Croft Primary school spent around £11,000 on solar panels for their school but over their 25 year life they are set to earn back around a massive £43,150.
Exposing children to renewable energies while young will ingrain it into their everyday life and will make sustainable living more of a real possibility for the future. The Solar Schools Campaign shows children how much energy they have saved on a display – usually in the corridor. The children being able to see tangible numbers displaying the energy that they’re saving and the difference that the solar panels are making really helps put battle against climate change into perspective.
An Opportunity for Changing Attitudes
The solar panels are also a great lesson tool. Teachers are able to incorporate the solar panels into maths, science and geography lessons and give children a more firm understanding about the panels and the positive effects that they are having. Once children are involved in one aspect of renewable energy, it also encourages their interest in others. They become a lot more open to other aspects of more sustainable lifestyles like recycling and making sure the lights are turned off. Parents and teachers reported the children are nagging them to become more green – reprimanding them for not turning of the computers or using the car when they can walk.
Although applications for Solar Schools are currently closed, it does not mean that schools can’t raise the money independently and get solar panels installed without support from the organisation. A great way to get backing for the cause are using traditional methods from bake sales, fetes, sponsored sleepovers to the more hilarious throwing cream pies at and gunge-dunking teachers.
Another great method is for the schools and its pupils to approach local businesses for support and explain why they should give as much as they can for the cause. It means the children really need to know their stuff about the environment and solar panels – and who can say no to a bunch of kids wanting to save the world?
Solar Panels in schools are a great example of normal, everyday people trying to make a change to their carbon footprint. It demonstrates what communities can achieve if they put their minds to it and that living sustainably and using greener energy possible. It is essential to educate and encourage greener minds for the future and this is definitely a step in the right direction.
- New Bio-Solar Panels Are Made from Cotton and Castor Beans (inhabitat.com)
- California Becomes First State with 1,500 Solar Panels (fox40.com)
- STELCO plans 50 megawatt floating solar panel installation (minivannews.com)