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National Solar Schools Census 2014

As part of its commitment to increase understanding of the use of solar at K-12 schools, The Solar Foundation (TSF) and its research partners at the Solar Energy Industries Association have built the most comprehensive database known of U.S. K-12 schools that have chosen solar power.

With support from the SunShot Initiative, TSF’s national solar schools census, “Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools” serves as a starting point for sharing ideas and best practices between schools experienced with solar energy and those seeking to join their ranks. Each solar school has its own unique story to tell on how their systems were financed and installed and how (and whether) solar has been integrated into class curricula.

Key findings:

  • There are currently 3,752 K-12 schools with solar installations in the U.S., meaning nearly 2.7 million students attend schools with solar energy systems.
  • The 3,727 PV systems have a combined capacity of 490 megawatts (MW), and generate roughly 642,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity each year, equivalent to $77.8 million worth of utility bills and enough clean, renewable energy to offset 50 million gallons of gasoline.
  • Solar potential remains largely untapped. Of the 125,000 K-12 schools in the country, up to 72,000 schools (60%) can “go solar” cost-effectively. Approximately 450 individual schools districts have the potential to save more than $1 million over 30 years by installing a solar PV system.


This report was partially funded by SunShot’s Solar Outreach Partnership, a multi-organizational effort to help increase the use and integration of solar energy in communities across the United States. If your school or school district is considering choosing solar energy and needs help, contact The Solar Foundation for free technical assistance, courtesy of Solar Outreach Partnership.

Learn more and download “Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools.”