School children

Going solar does not only cut carbon pollution. At Stead Elementary School in Reno, Nevada, it’s also a learning opportunity.

Two years ago, the local utility helped the school install solar panels. The initiative was part of a state program designed to provide solar energy to low-income communities.

Geddes: “It’s a very low-income neighborhood that feeds into the school.”

Jason Geddes is energy and sustainability manager for the Washoe County School District. He says the power generated by the solar panels last year saved Stead Elementary more than $16,000. Students, parents, and teachers got to choose how most of that money would be spent.

Geddes: “They all came to the conclusion that laptops would be the best use for the money this year. Students really like it because it does give the kids access to computers that they normally wouldn’t have. Not all of the students have access to computers at home.”

Geddes says the solar initiative has supported learning in other ways too.

Geddes: “The sun is producing electricity that is feeding your classroom. It’s just great to see the kids learning from that and being more interested in science because these things are sitting right out their window and they can see the direct benefit.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Copyright protected.

Bud Ward was editor of Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. He started his environmental journalism career in 1974. He later served as assistant director of the U.S. Congress's National Commission...