Solar power fulfills the mission of many charter schools: to provide an excellent learning environment, to be in harmony with the environment and to be operationally efficient while doing so. A rooftop solar system for your school provides excellent educational opportunities and can easily be less expensive than utility-based power, especially with rising electricity rates. And the environmental benefits of solar apply equally to every student, client, teacher or board member. 

If you’re considering solar power for your charter school or nonprofit, exploring these frequently asked questions is a great place to get started. 

What kind of savings can our charter school earn with solar power? 

Let’s face it: Electricity bills are unpredictable. Prices can fluctuate from month to month and additional fees can pop up whenever the utility company decides a new service needs to be covered financially. This kind of price uncertainty is not ideal when setting an operational budget. Luckily, there’s a solution that can create better consistency. 

Hosting solar panels on the rooftop of your charter school or even as a ground-mounted system can be incredibly helpful when aiming to regulate your monthly utility bills. The clean energy you generate gets credited against your utility bill and can sometimes virtually eliminate your entire bill. At Longhorn Solar, our solar experts will help you determine how many solar panels your school will need to reduce your reliance on the local power grid for electricity and drastically reduce your bills. 

And if you decide to pair your solar system with a solar battery, you can store any excess clean energy your system generates. On weekends and during school holidays, this setup is especially beneficial. To save even more on your utility bills, you can tap into this stored energy during bad weather or when utility fees are at their highest. 

Can our roof support a solar system? 

Any reputable solar company will recommend that your roof is in good condition before installing solar panels on it. High quality solar panels can produce clean energy for decades, so your roof needs to be sturdy to support them for this length of time. 

While any institution can have a variety of differently shaped rooftops, our solar installers have the experience to work with them all. No matter what type of roof you have – flat, sloped or a mix of multiple styles – we can equip it to support the solar system you need for your school. So in short, yes, your roof can most definitely support a solar system. 

Rooftops aren’t the only place to host a solar system. Solar panels can also be mounted on a racking system on the ground. If you have an area of unused land on your campus, such as a parking lot, it could be a good candidate to start producing solar power (and provide shade for cars!). In other words, there are options. If you’re ready to get a solar system, our team can help you find the right solution for you. 

Are there any educational benefits for installing solar panels? 

Absolutely. Solar energy offers a diverse set of learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math. For schools interested in providing more hands-on STEM-related learning, a solar system is a great asset to have on school grounds. Students can learn how solar panels work and even observe the installation process in real-time. This can lead to the exploration of career opportunities within the green economy. 

As the solar industry continues to grow, more jobs are becoming available. Students can find a variety of well-paying job opportunities from sales and marketing to engineering and installation upon graduation. 

In addition, schools with an eco-friendly campus can be seen as more attractive for prospective families. Many families are looking for schools that are eco-conscious and integrate those learning principles into the curriculum. What better way to showcase that your school is green than with a solar system sitting on your rooftop? 

How long does it take to install a solar system with Longhorn Solar? 

There are a few different factors to consider when determining the installation timeline of a solar system. One thing you will want to review is if the solar company you are working with has the experience and number of certified installers needed to complete a project of this scale. More experienced and larger teams, such as ours, can usually complete a job on a much shorter timeline. With 15+ years of experience and more than 2,700 successful installations in the Lone Star State, we are proud to have a 4.6 rating on Solar Reviews, showcasing several firsthand accounts from happy eco-friendly Texans. 

Another factor in determining the timeline for your solar installation is your local permitting process. In order to install a solar system, there are certain permits that must be approved. Longhorn Solar will handle all the permit applications and work with your local utility company to get the necessary permits approved. The period of time for approval can vary greatly depending on the utility company. 

Once all of the approvals are in place, the installation process can begin.This is often the quickest part of the entire solar process. Depending on the size of the solar system, installation can take up to a few days. But don’t worry, you won’t be left in the dark. When you partner with Longhorn Solar, you will have a project coordinator that will keep you up to date on how long each phase is expected to take.  

How much does a solar system cost?

These days, solar is more affordable than ever before. As solar energy technology has evolved, so have the costs of installing a solar system. Prices have dropped significantly, and there are rebates and incentives available through the Inflation Reduction Act that can also help schools generate savings. The Inflation Reduction Act also enables charter schools and similar organizations to receive a Federal 30% Direct Pay reimbursement of the cost of their solar system. This can also come into play for schools with a solar battery. 

Solar system costs can vary because each organization has different energy needs. The team at Longhorn Solar can create a custom quote for your school based on your specific energy goals, including future savings projections. In fact, one of the first steps taken when an organization chooses solar power is a review of the past year’s electricity bills, along with an inspection of electrical systems like thermostats and ventilation systems. There is also a shade analysis conducted to determine how much sunlight the solar panels can collect during a typical day. All of these factors come together to give our team a more accurate view of the savings your solar system can generate. We will also let you know about any rebates and incentives available in your area. 

When it comes to solar power for your charter school, it’s easy to see that the pros outweigh the cons. If you’re ready to learn more about how solar energy can benefit your school or request a custom quote, go ahead and reach out. We’d love to hear from you.