Reno, NV (January 25, 2018) – Almost two years after installing and activating ground-mounted solar panels at Stead Elementary School, the students and teachers are reaping the financial and educational rewards of conserving power.
In all, electric saving topped $12,328 in 2017, and the school used the money to purchase 34 HP laptop computers for students to use in class. With a smaller allocation of money generated in 2016, the school also purchased a Buddy Bench and a check-in system where visitors sign into the computer and print a name badge when they arrive at school.
“Staff and students love the Buddy Bench as it provides an area for students to find a new friend and feel included at recess.” said Dr. Susan Egloff, principal of Stead Elementary School. “And we are truly excited to have more laptops for student use so they can create classroom projects, enhance computer knowledge, and conduct research. Plans for future money include the purchase of iPads for use during small group instruction and center time.
device for each student to use.”
The project was the result of a partnership between NV Energy and the Washoe County School District (WCSD) which saves approximately $16,500 annually on the school’s electric bill, with 25 percent of the savings placed in an account to maintain the system. Under terms of the agreement between NV Energy and the District, the money saved was allocated to programs and services that would benefit the school and its students.
“This solar program was created by the Nevada Legislature, and placed solar panels near classrooms so students can learn about their energy future,” said Dr. Jason Geddes, energy conservation & sustainability program coordinator for WCSD. “Students are living this lesson and learning that renewable energy and energy conservation can have a direct and positive impact on their lives. The students also get the direct benefit from the energy savings through the computers that can better their educational experience.”
Under legislation passed by the 2013 Nevada Legislature, each electrical utility in the state was required to create a Lower Income Solar Energy Pilot Program (LISEPP) to benefit low-income customers, including homeless shelters, low-income housing developments, and schools with significant populations of low-income students. NV Energy proposed installing photovoltaic solar systems at Title I schools for this pilot program, and asked District staff to look at suitable Title I schools that have sufficient space available for a ground-mounted photovoltaic solar system. District staff identified Stead Elementary School as a site that met both requirements. NV Energy customers covered 100 percent of the costs for the solar project.
“It is exciting to see Stead Elementary School reap the benefits of savings from these solar panels and to be able to use that money for materials that will help students,” said Mary Simmons, NV Energy Vice President of Community Strategy and Business Development. “The LISEPP provides solar energy systems to schools and nonprofits that serve families in need and NV Energy is proud to play a part in this commitment to a sustainable energy future.”