Antwerp Local Schools and Warsaw Community Schools have the potential to become trendsetters, not for educational programs but for the way they power their buildings.
The Ohio and Indiana districts are among a small but growing number of districts nationwide to adopt solar energy.
Rapidly declining installation costs have driven interest among K-12 schools nationwide, with the number of solar schools up 46 percent since 2014, according to a report released late last year by the Solar Foundation, the Solar Energy Industries Association and Generation 180, a nonprofit committed to spreading energy awareness.
Along with costs plummeting 67 percent in the last decade – and 19 percent in 2016 alone, financing options also make it easier for schools to benefit from solar energy with little or no upfront costs, “Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools” found.
“We're preparing for that next (budgetary) low,” said Harold Gottke, Antwerp's technology director.
The trend, however, has yet to catch on in Indiana. Only 16 of nearly 5,500 solar schools are in the Hoosier State, making it one of 18 states with solar installed at less than 1 percent of schools, the report found.