What better way to showcase the amazing advantages of solar power than to help a whole district’s school system? In 2021, the Batesville school district in Arkansas did exactly that and with inspirational results.
The Woeful Situation In Batesville
Before the introduction of solar power, the Batesville school district was struggling to pay the salaries of its teachers. The district is relatively smaller in size, with only one high school and 5 more education centers catering to about 3,200 students. Moreover, Batesville is not exactly an urban area of the state. Coupled with low wages, teachers were reluctant to stay on and new hires were even rarer.
However, in 2017, the school decided to buy about 1,500 solar panels. They used them to cover a nearby field that was not in use. The officials then installed the remaining panels on the school building. The entire solar power grid would produce more than enough energy for the schools, literally. As such, the school sold the excess power back to the locality’s energy grid.
The financial results were astounding.
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Solar Power Changed Batesville Forever
Before, the total utility bills in Batesville amounted to more than $600,000 annually, which was one of the factors behind the state’s low wages. After the installation, the school district earned enough profit to give a massive $15,000 raise to each teacher!
Furthermore, audits indicate that modern energy infrastructure, such as the solar power grid, can save Batesville up to $2.4 million in the next 2 decades. As such, the district is set to solve two huge problems with one stone – their financial troubles as well as their carbon footprint. After all, for so long, Batesville’s primary source of power was Arkansas’ biggest coal power plant which was only 17 miles east of the district. 
For now, the higher wages have meant a greater inflow of resumes as well as a drop in teacher resignations, according to Michael Hester, the superintendent of Batesville. Jeanne Roepecke, a local teacher, admitted that she would not have thought of this solution. Nevertheless, she added, that cashing in on the sun is “a great idea”.
Batesville is not an exception, as more and more locations in the USA are moving toward giving renewable energy a greater role. The technology has never been cheaper – the prices have dropped by 82% over the previous 10 years alone. Moreover, the trend is set to continue. It only makes sense that it is only a matter of time until other areas follow in Batesville’s footsteps.
Keep Reading: Scientists Have Developed Liquid Solar Energy System That Can Store Electricity For 18 Years
- “Rural School Buys Solar Panels And Raises Teachers Wages With Energy Savings.” IFL Science. Jack Dunhill. March 17, 2021.
- “School District Turns to Solar Power, Teachers Get Raise from Savings.” Interesting Engineering. Fabienne Lang.
- “A School Bought Solar Panels And Saved Enough To Give All Its Teachers Raises.” Futurism. Victor Tangermann.