The state will soon get an upgrade to its energy efficiency program that will allow schools to take advantage of the state’s new solar power incentive program.
The state legislature passed the bill last year, and it’s expected to become law this year.
The solar incentive program allows school districts to receive up to $1,000 per school for the energy it takes to produce and install solar panels.
In 2019, schools in Washington will receive $1.2 million, which will allow them to install panels on an average of three campuses per school year.
Schools will be eligible to apply for a maximum of three panels each year, which are not subject to the solar tax.
Solar energy is a cleaner alternative to burning coal or natural gas.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, solar energy uses nearly half of the energy generated from fossil fuels.
If Washington schools are able to achieve solar energy savings on an annual basis, it would represent an enormous boost to the state economy.
A solar school is the latest development in a nationwide movement to install solar energy systems in public schools.
In 2017, a group of school districts in Massachusetts were among the first in the country to install rooftop solar panels in public elementary schools.
A similar program in New Jersey was recently expanded, allowing schools in New York and California to install up to 60 percent of their school buildings with solar energy, according to the Associated Press.
“There’s a lot of people who are interested in solar energy and they’re going to want to make sure that they get it,” said Adam Schlosser, director of the Center for Sustainable Energy for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
“Schools are already doing a good job of transitioning their energy systems and now they’re getting a real benefit.”
In 2020, New York State will have over 2,000 solar power systems installed, which would be the largest in the state, according the AP.