Cash-strapped California is in the midst of a Solar Schools initiative that will help the state save over $1.5 billion in energy costs over the next 30 years. In partnership with SunPower, the California Solar Schools program helps K-12 and higher education institutions across the state take advantage of local solar subsidies that will partially fund the installation of solar panels on their buildings. In addition to helping the schools onto the clean energy boat, the initiative aims to teach kids in those schools about professions in the renewable energy sector.

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The solar panels that are installed as part of the Solar Schools program are all equipped with high tech monitoring systems so that children in that school can learn about how the solar panels collect energy throughout the day. “Whether it be a 1 kW solar panel on a pole, or a roof-mounted system on a non-profit building, each is hooked up to an online data monitoring system so that the community can view the energy production of the system and learn about the environmental impact of that system,” the California Solar School’s website says.

Over the next year, SunPower aims to install 90 solar arrays at schools across the state as part of the program. In the San Ramon Valley Unified School District there will be five new solar arrays that will account for nearly 80% of each school’s power requirements. In the first year alone the San Ramon Valley Unified School District will save a whopping $2 million in energy costs. This program all comes thanks to the Foundation for Environmental Education a non-profit that is seeking to build the next generation of thinkers who will carry the renewable energy torch far into the future.

Via Energy Matters