Bright Spot

Solar panels reveal the benefits of renewable energy for Texas students.

by / November 1, 2007

In June, Zilker Elementary School in Austin saved 237 kilowatt hours of energy because of the school's solar panels.

The elementary school is one of 56 Texas schools participating in the Texas Solar for Schools Program, a program run by the Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) and the U.S. Department of Energy that helps supply small-scale solar energy systems and complementary educational tools to schools.

Not only does Zilker save energy, Zilker students can also figure out what energy conservation means in their terms: in fast-food meals eaten, in the speed of a space shuttle hurtling through space and in the size of a melting ice block.

Started in 2001, the Texas Solar for Schools Program allows schools to doubly gain from renewable energy by shaving energy and money from electric bills, and using the panels as educational tools.

Similar programs exist in other states, such as California, New York and Wisconsin, but Texas schools have the added advantage of the state's blazing sun. Of all the states, University of Texas' IC

Jessica Weidling Contributing Writer

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