Illustration by Andrew Lam

Solar panels powers school with environment in mind

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Renewable energy has become especially significant as the effects of climate change become more evident and increase in severity. Most international governments are pushing for the transition to sustainable energy, but advocacy on a local level is also essential. The school needs to install solar panels in its parking lot because not only would it lessen the harms of climate change, but also serve the campus in alternative ways. 

With solar panels, the school would be generating its own electricity. There would be little to no need to draw power from a utility grid that is barely beginning to transition to using sustainable energy sources. Continuous use of non-renewables is detrimental to one’s health, as the pollutants emitted trigger conditions that compromise it. By creating power from solar panels, the campus’s power consumption avoids this harm. In addition, solar panels produce electricity without emitting carbon, lowering the school’s carbon footprint—the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that is caused. As long as the sun shines, the solar panels can continuously produce electricity for the campus while reducing carbon emissions. 

As a result of constant and independent power production, the cost of energy and installation decreases not over time, but from the moment that the solar panels are operational. The state and federal governments provide tax incentives and rebates for making the transition to clean energy, which immediately lowers the cost of installation. At a point in time, there will be so much power output from the solar panels that the campus would not need to depend on the grid. In turn, the school will see a substantial decrease in energy expenses, allowing for more money to be allocated to other school departments. 

Some may say that, on paper, solar panels appear to be a game changer, but the question of how the school will obtain the means to follow through on that plan remains. Solar panels can take a considerable amount of time to install, especially since these will not be installed on a previously existing surface. Installation could interrupt day-to-day activities, but considering the lack of human presence on campus due to distance learning, installation at this time is not an issue. Also, when students do return to campus and the solar panels are installed, there would be a new location with sun protection. The installation of solar panels would have a positive impact in the future with regard to finances and health. 

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