Target: North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
Goal: Make it possible for schools to install solar panels.
North Carolina could potentially save millions of dollars on school utility bills, and be more environmentally friendly, if they help schools install solar panels. This would require statewide policies to change in order to fund the installations.
As schools are not tax-paying entities, they do not receive the same federal tax breaks that businesses and homeowners do when they install solar panels. Across most of the country, this means that schools rely on third-party financing to help lower the upfront costs. Schools can lease the equipment and make monthly payments. However, under current legislation in North Carolina and four other states, third-party financing is prohibited.
Allowing for third-party energy sales and upgrades, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Durham Public Schools could save $54.6 million and $16.3 million respectively over the next 25 years. The positive environmental impact would also be substantial, as it would mean the schools are less reliant on traditional energy from fossil fuels and gas.
The only way to make it financially viable for schools to install solar panels is either to subsidize their installation or to change policy statewide to allow for third-party financing. Sign this petition to urge the Governor of North Carolina to consider changing the financing policies for solar energy in schools.
Dear Governor McCrory,
A coalition of North Carolina parents, teachers and students have asked the school districts to begin using solar power, like their counterparts have already done across the country. The potential savings on utility bills alone should be incentive enough, not to mention the environmental benefits of using renewable solar energy.
As of 2014, almost 4,000 U.S. schools have installed solar panels with success and are reaping the benefits. The problem in North Carolina school districts is the prohibitive upfront costs of the installation. As it stands, these costs would have to be borne by the schools themselves or through direct government subsidy because of the legislation regarding third-party financing for solar projects. North Carolina is one of only five states that prohibits this type of financing.
Clean, renewable energy is what the teachers, students and parents have asked for. A change in legislation allowing for third-party financing would mean that districts could save millions over the next two decades, meaning more money for other essential projects. This is the smart decision for the future of North Carolina. I urge you to look into the policies and do everything possible to get solar energy for these schools.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Jim Heaphy