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Columbia area schools begin to install solar panels

Thanks to renewable incentives, school districts are investing in clean energy to power schools in the Midlands.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Local school districts are investing in green energy across the Midlands.

In Columbia over a dozen schools are slated to receive solar panels within the next two years. Thanks to solar incentives from local power companies, the schools will be able to sell any excess power at higher rates allowing for savings in power costs in the long term.

Richland One Schools is planning to spend $23 Million to install panels at 15 schools across the district. The district’s Energy Manger, Miles Hanley, says they are expected to save $29 million over 20 years by using solar energy.

“Solar would be the best way for us to reduce our carbon footprint, get involved with renewables, and also we can use it as a teaching tool for our students.”

Richland District Two School District has already begun its process of adding this source of clean energy to their schools. In January, Killian Elementary installed panels and will be a pilot school for solar energy.

Will Anderson the COO of Richland Two Schools, says that along with Killian Elementary, R2i2 have both shown that these green technologies can serve as a teaching tool for students.

“It’s trying to be efficient with tax payer dollars and be efficient with our energy but the extras is just so positive with teaching kids at an elementary school about sustainability and teaching them about being good stewards of the environment and really teaching them the science behind how solar power works.”

If projects, like the one at Killian Elementary are seen as successful, there will be the possibility to expand the number of schools across the district that could have this unique teaching tool as well as energy source for their students.

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