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What Virginia School Just Made Solar News

students looking at solar panels

In the last few years, we’ve been seeing a lot of news about big organizations, companies, and government facilities building solar infrastructure to support energy needs. This trend has continued to move forward with installations in many school systems around the nation. Virginia too has been making some big strides in solar infrastructure for various academic organizations. What Virginia school just made solar news? 

Earlier this year we saw a lot of news about Richmond Public Schools starting to install solar infrastructure to help power their daily needs. These installations will not only help reduce the heat-trapping emissions from our school system but will also give young students a chance to get acclimated to solar technology as they learn and grow older. For many folks, education continues onward into college and that is where we're starting to see some big solar installations as well. 

Along the rolling hills of Winchester County, Shenandoah University has just made some big news by  announcing a new and significant solar installation. Similar to the Richmond school system, Shenandoah University is also partnering with the Staunton-based company Secure Futures to install 1337 solar panels across three buildings.  These new panels will have the capacity to generate 500 kilowatts of electricity or about  675,000-kilowatt-hours per year. So how much energy is this, really? For perspective consider your average desktop computer. One kilowatt-hour can power 2 computers for a full workday. The power capacity of this installation would be capable of powering nearly 350,000 computers for an entire year or brew over 8,000,000 pots of coffee. Both vital to college life, right? 

Scientists around the world know that  lowering CO2 output from traditional fossil fuel sources is required to help lessen the stresses of global climate change. In this way, Shenandoah University's installation offsets the heat-trapping gas emissions of 100 cars driven for a year. Beyond helping the planet this installation is also a great economic move, saving up to  $1.5 million on energy costs for the university over the next 35 years. The energy industry, in general, is starting to see a shift with  solar outpacing coal in many sectors including jobs. As future installations come online having an elementary through college education with solar in the backdrop will only further fuel jobs, innovation, and knowledge on this vital topic. These types of installations will allow students to grow up with solar power from early education all the way through higher education, providing first-hand experience on this clean, renewable energy's capabilities. 

Also, this gives them a great opportunity to learn about two constant features of their educational journey: The sun's not going anywhere and neither is their homework.