Renting School Rooftops

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Tucson Electric Power Company may have one option for the budget crisis in our public schools. They are offering the “Bright Roofs Program” to the school systems in Tucson, Arizona. TEP is proposing to lease school and other public building rooftops to develop new grid connected solar panel systems.

The goal is to help participating schools save money on energy costs and put the savings back into the classrooms. By allowing the TEP to rent the rooftops for the solar panels, the schools will be able to generate additional money. One high school with a 20,000 square foot flat roof can generate enough electricity for 170 homes. The solar arrays can be installed without making holes in the roof, thereby decreasing any chance of roof damage.

Kohl’s department store is participating in a similar program where SunEdison pays for the solar panels, installation and upkeep and then sells the electricity generated back to kohl’s at or below cost of grid power.

The Obama administration is providing millions of dollars in stimulus payments for “Modernization, energy efficiency and the use of alternative sources of energy“. If the school districts and solar or power companies can participate to find ways to take advantage of the stimulus and tax dollars available for “green roofing” it appears it would be mutually beneficial.

Our education system is in trouble, with budget cuts and increase in population, it’s clear we need to find alternative methods to keep our school doors open. By using the resources the schools already have, such as flat rooftops available to lease to the power companies for solar grid systems. The schools can save money on energy costs, reduce their carbon output, generate a few dollars to go back into the classroom, offer clean energy for the neighborhoods, and provide a unique learning environment for the students.

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