Later – “Hey, did ya hear that our old buddy Mert is in town? He texted me and said to meet him after school. Wanna go?” Minnie asked. The three old friends met that afternoon for a rowdy brag-fest. Each one talking up their own school’s achievements.
“Well oh yea, betcha neither of your schools is doing this!” Mert Tonn crowed. “You might think it’s kinda weird. But the kids in our school, and the whole town really, think we’ve been pretty clever.”
Mert told them how the community took a look at putting solar on their two school buildings. Once they ran the numbers, it was clear that they’d be missing a huge money-saving opportunity if they didn’t add solar.
So the district received grants from the Focus on Energy and the Solar on Schools programs. Even with that, a huge bill remained. And that’s where the clever part comes in. They took out a low-cost “green” loan and arranged for the monthly payment to equal the same amount saved each month on their electric bill. That way the district’s monthly expenditures remained the same. In the end, the district’s out-of-pocket cost was only about $20,000. Once the loan is paid off in four more years, those same savings can be used for other district needs. In the end, the projected energy cost savings comes to about $1.4 million over 30 years!
Mert’s schools’ solar systems were installed in 2019. Now in 2023, there’s even more support for nonprofits like schools. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will cover 1/3 of the total cost of adding solar. The Focus on Energy and Solar on Schools grants are still available too.
“Race you!” Minnie shouted. “I bet we get solar on our school before you do! Just think; we’ll save money, teach students about solar science and careers, and be good environmental stewards as well. We really can’t pass up this opportunity because, after all, this is the only home we’ll ever know. It’s where we’re all forever… Earthbound.”