<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://analytics.twitter.com/i/adsct?txn_id=nxqwu&amp;p_id=Twitter&amp;tw_sale_amount=0&amp;tw_order_quantity=0"> <img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="//t.co/i/adsct?txn_id=nxqwu&amp;p_id=Twitter&amp;tw_sale_amount=0&amp;tw_order_quantity=0"> <img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://analytics.twitter.com/i/adsct?txn_id=nxqwt&amp;p_id=Twitter&amp;tw_sale_amount=0&amp;tw_order_quantity=0"> <img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="//t.co/i/adsct?txn_id=nxqwt&amp;p_id=Twitter&amp;tw_sale_amount=0&amp;tw_order_quantity=0"> <img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://analytics.twitter.com/i/adsct?txn_id=nxqwv&amp;p_id=Twitter&amp;tw_sale_amount=0&amp;tw_order_quantity=0"> <img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="//t.co/i/adsct?txn_id=nxqwv&amp;p_id=Twitter&amp;tw_sale_amount=0&amp;tw_order_quantity=0"> <img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://analytics.twitter.com/i/adsct?txn_id=nxqwi&amp;p_id=Twitter&amp;tw_sale_amount=0&amp;tw_order_quantity=0"> <img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="//t.co/i/adsct?txn_id=nxqwi&amp;p_id=Twitter&amp;tw_sale_amount=0&amp;tw_order_quantity=0"> <img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://analytics.twitter.com/i/adsct?txn_id=nyk2u&amp;p_id=Twitter&amp;tw_sale_amount=0&amp;tw_order_quantity=0"> <img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="//t.co/i/adsct?txn_id=nyk2u&amp;p_id=Twitter&amp;tw_sale_amount=0&amp;tw_order_quantity=0">
Latest Posts
Solar Schools

How to lead the charge to help your schools go solar

Last month, hundreds of thousands of students around the globe walked out of school to speak up for their future and participate in Youth Strike 4 Climate. The actions of young people like Greta Thunberg and her peers around the world continue to spotlight our need for immediate action. This leadership from schoolchildren begs a follow-up question: can our schools—the institutions that shape and prepare our kids—help bring about a clean energy future as well? Turns out the answer is an emphatic "yes". In Generation 180’s hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, students and parents are advocating for their school districts to advance the adoption of clean energy and energy efficiency. Generation 180 supported community members in a local campaign to advocate for a commitment from two school districts to take stronger climate action. These community members coordinated meetings with school district and municipal staff, drafted school board resolutions, collected petition signatures, and garnered community support. Students from first grade through high school came to school board meetings to share their reasons for wanting clean energy and climate action at their schools. As a result of their efforts, Albemarle County Public Schools passed a resolution last fall that committed to expand efforts to secure renewable energy systems and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Last week, Charlottesville City Schools passed a resolution committing to increased energy performance, clean energy, and water conservation.           Where you come in You may not have realized it yet, but you have the power to help your schools make the switch to clean energy. And you don’t need to be an energy expert: students, parents, teachers, and community members can all lead the charge. All you need is passion, dedication to make a difference in your community, and our newly published Solar Schools Campaign Toolkit.

Featured

Solar-powered science in Michigan

Part 3 of a series of 3 case studies on successful solar school campaigns. Be sure to check out part 1 and part 2 as well. The science department at a southeast Michigan high school is now fully powered by solar energy, thanks to the dedication of a teacher and his students. West Bloomfield High School first received a grant for a 3.4 kilowatt (kW) solar array in 2011. This small solar system generated enough energy to power the science classroom of Joshua Barclay, but his students in the E.A.R.T.H. (Environmentally Aware, Ready To Help) Club wanted to do more.  They wanted to leave a lasting legacy by providing the school with free energy for the future. Over the next few years, Barclay’s students researched what it would take to power the school’s entire science department with clean energy. To estimate the total energy demand, his honors physics class conducted a full energy audit of the department in 2017. They measured the energy draw of every device across all science classrooms, interviewed teachers to find out when the devices were on, and then used the data to estimate the department’s total annual energy use. The students realized that energy efficiency is a critical  step to enabling renewable power. They calculated that simply upgrading all of the department’s lighting to LEDs would reduce the energy use by half and make it feasible to power all the entire science department with the addition of a 20 kW solar system. Student-driven solar campaign Barclay and his students in the E.A.R.T.H. club embarked on the solar campaign that they dubbed 20kW by 2020. After two years of dedication and hard work, the students raised nearly $25,000 for the project. They conducted bagel and pizza sales, collected donations for an LED bulb fundraiser, hosted a crowdfunding campaign, and applied for several grants. The E.A.R.T.H. club  also conducted a solar energy resource analysis to determine the best location on campus for the solar system and to calculate the cost savings and reductions in carbon emissions provided by the 20 kW solar system. They made several presentations to the school board to explain the benefits of the school going solar. Once the financing was in place, the school board gave them the approval to go ahead. The students successfully fundraised for the upfront investment of $21,000. With that down payment, the school could lease a 20 kW solar system for 5.5 years and purchase the electricity produced from that system at 10% lower cost than its current wholesale rate.  After the lease period, the school would own the system outright and benefit from the free energy of the sun for the life of the solar panels. The school is expected to save $65,000 in electricity costs over 25 years.  “My students wanted to do this for the school district—to give them free energy for the future,” said Barclay. Hands-on science learning "From conception to installation to operation, our solar energy system has been a fantastic tool to teach real-world science,” says Barclay. West Bloomfield High School students have been actively involved in every step of the process to power the science department with clean energy. Over the course of a few years, students calculated the science department’s energy needs, raised the money for the solar panels, secured school district approval, and even installed the ground-based solar photovoltaic system. Barclay will use the solar system as a tool for real-world learning and work with the E.A.R.T.H. club to learn how maintain the system for peak performance. When the school was given different advice from different solar installers on the best angle to set the solar arrays, this science teacher saw an opportunity for his students to research this real-world question.Beginning in 2019, Barclay’s students are going to experiment with different angles for the solar panel placement to assess which angle generates the most energy over various time scales. They will test different hypotheses to determine the optimal set up for the arrays, and they can share their results with local solar companies.   Benefits beyond the science classroom The students involved in this solar project gained life skills that they will take with them into adulthood. The students applied economics when they had to create a financial goal for the 20 kW solar system, raise the money for their goal, and continue to research new ways to finance the solar system. By advocating for solar to the school board, they were practicing civics and learning the power of expressing their views to their local elected leaders. Throughout the process, the students were mastering their collaboration, communication and problem-solving skills. The new solar panels the students installed will also benefit the community by keeping 30 tons of carbon dioxide pollution out of the atmosphere each year.  The solar panels will be a reminder to the school community of the role we can all play in creating a clean energy future together. “Our solar system is not only accessible to our kids for learning, but it is also in a visible place on our school grounds where the public can see what we are doing and learn that solar is available for all,” said Barclay. Ready to learn more about how to run a successful solar schools campaign in your community? Check out our Solar Schools Campaign Toolkit.

Featured

The basics of rooftop solar

When it comes to solar panels on homes, a lot of us might categorize ourselves as "curious but clueless". We know the basic idea—that solar can create electricity for your home and reduce your utility bill—but beyond that? The whole matter quickly starts feeling a bit mysterious, a bit like uncharted territory. 

Featured

Ten Tips to Help You Conquer The Energy Challenge

More than ever before, individuals like us can help drive forward our transition to clean energy. We have the power to stand up, speak up, and make smart choices—in how we power our homes, cars, schools, cities—and so much more. We’ve just launched our Energy Challenge to make it simpler and easier to take everyday action in your own life.

Featured

Head of the class: School districts lead the charge towards 100% clean energy

Part 2 of a series of 3 case studies on successful solar school campaigns. See part 1 here. With the price of solar installations dropping dramatically in recent years, schools have increasingly taken advantage of the opportunity to cut energy costs by switching to solar. The amount of solar power generated at U.S. schools has grown by 86% since 2014, and a growing number of school districts from coast to coast are leading the charge towards 100% clean energy. The snapshots below illustrate three different models for school districts to achieve energy independence and pull the plug on electric bills.   

Solar

Thor's hammer and the fight against fossil fuels

As energy consumers, we’re on the front lines of an important battle. Until recently, we didn’t have much say in where we got the electricity we need to power our lives, or how much we paid for this privilege. Our energy choices were dictated to us from the outside, and we either had to be willing participants in the system or…live off the grid.

All Posts
Solar Schools

How to lead the charge to help your schools go solar

Last month, hundreds of thousands of students around the globe walked out of school to speak up for their future and participate in Youth Strike 4 Climate. The actions of young people like Greta Thunberg and her peers around the world continue to spotlight our need for immediate action. This leadership from schoolchildren begs a follow-up question: can our schools—the institutions that shape and prepare our kids—help bring about a clean energy future as well? Turns out the answer is an emphatic "yes". In Generation 180’s hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, students and parents are advocating for their school districts to advance the adoption of clean energy and energy efficiency. Generation 180 supported community members in a local campaign to advocate for a commitment from two school districts to take stronger climate action. These community members coordinated meetings with school district and municipal staff, drafted school board resolutions, collected petition signatures, and garnered community support. Students from first grade through high school came to school board meetings to share their reasons for wanting clean energy and climate action at their schools. As a result of their efforts, Albemarle County Public Schools passed a resolution last fall that committed to expand efforts to secure renewable energy systems and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Last week, Charlottesville City Schools passed a resolution committing to increased energy performance, clean energy, and water conservation.           Where you come in You may not have realized it yet, but you have the power to help your schools make the switch to clean energy. And you don’t need to be an energy expert: students, parents, teachers, and community members can all lead the charge. All you need is passion, dedication to make a difference in your community, and our newly published Solar Schools Campaign Toolkit.

Featured

Solar-powered science in Michigan

Part 3 of a series of 3 case studies on successful solar school campaigns. Be sure to check out part 1 and part 2 as well. The science department at a southeast Michigan high school is now fully powered by solar energy, thanks to the dedication of a teacher and his students. West Bloomfield High School first received a grant for a 3.4 kilowatt (kW) solar array in 2011. This small solar system generated enough energy to power the science classroom of Joshua Barclay, but his students in the E.A.R.T.H. (Environmentally Aware, Ready To Help) Club wanted to do more.  They wanted to leave a lasting legacy by providing the school with free energy for the future. Over the next few years, Barclay’s students researched what it would take to power the school’s entire science department with clean energy. To estimate the total energy demand, his honors physics class conducted a full energy audit of the department in 2017. They measured the energy draw of every device across all science classrooms, interviewed teachers to find out when the devices were on, and then used the data to estimate the department’s total annual energy use. The students realized that energy efficiency is a critical  step to enabling renewable power. They calculated that simply upgrading all of the department’s lighting to LEDs would reduce the energy use by half and make it feasible to power all the entire science department with the addition of a 20 kW solar system. Student-driven solar campaign Barclay and his students in the E.A.R.T.H. club embarked on the solar campaign that they dubbed 20kW by 2020. After two years of dedication and hard work, the students raised nearly $25,000 for the project. They conducted bagel and pizza sales, collected donations for an LED bulb fundraiser, hosted a crowdfunding campaign, and applied for several grants. The E.A.R.T.H. club  also conducted a solar energy resource analysis to determine the best location on campus for the solar system and to calculate the cost savings and reductions in carbon emissions provided by the 20 kW solar system. They made several presentations to the school board to explain the benefits of the school going solar. Once the financing was in place, the school board gave them the approval to go ahead. The students successfully fundraised for the upfront investment of $21,000. With that down payment, the school could lease a 20 kW solar system for 5.5 years and purchase the electricity produced from that system at 10% lower cost than its current wholesale rate.  After the lease period, the school would own the system outright and benefit from the free energy of the sun for the life of the solar panels. The school is expected to save $65,000 in electricity costs over 25 years.  “My students wanted to do this for the school district—to give them free energy for the future,” said Barclay. Hands-on science learning "From conception to installation to operation, our solar energy system has been a fantastic tool to teach real-world science,” says Barclay. West Bloomfield High School students have been actively involved in every step of the process to power the science department with clean energy. Over the course of a few years, students calculated the science department’s energy needs, raised the money for the solar panels, secured school district approval, and even installed the ground-based solar photovoltaic system. Barclay will use the solar system as a tool for real-world learning and work with the E.A.R.T.H. club to learn how maintain the system for peak performance. When the school was given different advice from different solar installers on the best angle to set the solar arrays, this science teacher saw an opportunity for his students to research this real-world question.Beginning in 2019, Barclay’s students are going to experiment with different angles for the solar panel placement to assess which angle generates the most energy over various time scales. They will test different hypotheses to determine the optimal set up for the arrays, and they can share their results with local solar companies.   Benefits beyond the science classroom The students involved in this solar project gained life skills that they will take with them into adulthood. The students applied economics when they had to create a financial goal for the 20 kW solar system, raise the money for their goal, and continue to research new ways to finance the solar system. By advocating for solar to the school board, they were practicing civics and learning the power of expressing their views to their local elected leaders. Throughout the process, the students were mastering their collaboration, communication and problem-solving skills. The new solar panels the students installed will also benefit the community by keeping 30 tons of carbon dioxide pollution out of the atmosphere each year.  The solar panels will be a reminder to the school community of the role we can all play in creating a clean energy future together. “Our solar system is not only accessible to our kids for learning, but it is also in a visible place on our school grounds where the public can see what we are doing and learn that solar is available for all,” said Barclay. Ready to learn more about how to run a successful solar schools campaign in your community? Check out our Solar Schools Campaign Toolkit.

Featured

The basics of rooftop solar

When it comes to solar panels on homes, a lot of us might categorize ourselves as "curious but clueless". We know the basic idea—that solar can create electricity for your home and reduce your utility bill—but beyond that? The whole matter quickly starts feeling a bit mysterious, a bit like uncharted territory. 

Featured

Ten Tips to Help You Conquer The Energy Challenge

More than ever before, individuals like us can help drive forward our transition to clean energy. We have the power to stand up, speak up, and make smart choices—in how we power our homes, cars, schools, cities—and so much more. We’ve just launched our Energy Challenge to make it simpler and easier to take everyday action in your own life.

Featured

Head of the class: School districts lead the charge towards 100% clean energy

Part 2 of a series of 3 case studies on successful solar school campaigns. See part 1 here. With the price of solar installations dropping dramatically in recent years, schools have increasingly taken advantage of the opportunity to cut energy costs by switching to solar. The amount of solar power generated at U.S. schools has grown by 86% since 2014, and a growing number of school districts from coast to coast are leading the charge towards 100% clean energy. The snapshots below illustrate three different models for school districts to achieve energy independence and pull the plug on electric bills.   

Solar

Thor's hammer and the fight against fossil fuels

As energy consumers, we’re on the front lines of an important battle. Until recently, we didn’t have much say in where we got the electricity we need to power our lives, or how much we paid for this privilege. Our energy choices were dictated to us from the outside, and we either had to be willing participants in the system or…live off the grid.

Solar Schools

Seventh grader switches her school to solar

Part 1 of a series of 3 case studies on successful solar school campaigns. See part 2 here.     Montana seventh grader Claire Vlases propelled her independent study project into a transformation of her school to solar power.

Electric Vehicles

This holiday, put an electric vehicle on your wish list

It’s hard to believe they’re still running those ads—you know, the ones where the spouse surprises her partner with a shiny new SUV, festooned with an oversized red bow? We’re pretty sure that’s never happened in real life—but, if your family happens to be in the market for a new vehicle this year, the holidays can be a really good time to buy. And this year, more than ever, you’d do well to consider driving electric.

Politics

The midterms are over—but your role isn't

With the midterm elections now over, there’s a good chance you’re in one of three camps: 1) those that are thrilled over a victory, 2) those feeling dispirited about a loss, or 3) those that have already moved on to thinking about Thanksgiving plans. But just because you’ve cast your vote, this doesn’t mean you have to cast aside your civic mindedness until November 2020.

Going electric

It's time for schools to hop on the (electric) bus

When someone says the words “electric vehicle,” a giant, lumbering, yellow kid-wagon isn’t the first—or the slickest—product that comes to mind. You might not have even known that someone, somewhere, was making such a vehicle. But here’s the honest truth: electric school buses are here, they’re awesome, and the case for schools adopting them is more compelling than ever.

Going electric

How my weed eater ushered me into the 21st century

The broken cord just hung there, yellowed with age and not sure of what to do or what to be. This particular cord had held for seven years and had served its purpose well—until this balmy July afternoon.

Power Industry

Why we need to electrify everything

What does it take to get fossil fuels out of our lives? A big part of the answer is “the electrification of everything”. No, it’s not just industry jargon—it’s a key concept worth understanding, as it's playing a key role in our transition to a society powered by clean, renewable energy. 

Solar

"Local Energy": why it's happening now

We hear a lot these days about “going local.” We might shop at the farmers market or choose to support mom-and-pop businesses in our community. Yet when it comes to energy, we usually just flip the switch or fill up the tank, without thinking much about it. Fortunately, there are rewarding ways we can go local with our energy, too.

Politics

As governments, businesses, and investors “take ambition to the next level”, it’s time for American households to do the same

On Friday, California Governor Jerry Brown ended the Global Climate Action Summit he organized in San Francisco with a rallying cry: “This week, cities, states, businesses, and nonprofits stepped up and took strong action.... Now it’s time to take this momentum back home.”

Video

The new face of energy

The energy transition is happening. Across the world we are seeing radical shifts in how we produce our energy, and how we use. Energy democracy has come to the American household in the form of new products like electric vehicles and affordable solar panels. Products like these provide us with energy independence, more money in our wallets, and a healthier future. This is the new face of energy.

Drawdown

Why we joined the Drawdown Coalition

We’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with fellow nonprofit Project Drawdown by joining the Drawdown Coalition—a growing network of over 200 researchers, business leaders, policy makers, and solution implementers working towards the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming: Drawdown.  

Video

Wind surpasses hydro

    Wind surpassed hydropower energy as the biggest source of renewable electricity here in the U.S. thanks to a tripling of wind capacity since 2008.1 You may be wondering where are all these wind turbines going up? Well, the top 3 states are Texas, Iowa, and Oklahoma.1So how much power are we actually talking about here? Well, wind now has the capacity to power over 24 million American homes.2 And with wind and solar adding capacity faster than fossil fuels the power industry3 is undergoing a major and profound transformation.

Keep It Cool

O'Malley calls for "seizing America's renewable energy future"

  Highlights from Gov. O'Malley's presentation on 100% clean energy. To learn more about the "New Energy Narrative" click here.   Governor O'Malley delivered a clear call to action on Monday for Americans to make bold strides towards a clean energy future in his talk at Green Builder Media's second annual Sustainability Symposium in Orlando.

Electric Vehicles

Meet your electrified neighbors: 2017 National Drive Electric Week

Ever wonder who exactly is driving those Teslas, Chevy Bolts, and Nissan Leafs around your town? Well those car owners are gathering at an event near you this week, and they’re ready to answer all your burning questions about what life is actually like with an electric vehicle.

Video

Ten reasons why "Keep It Cool" is smart for retailers

    Turn on the local news on any summer day, and there's a decent chance you might hear a familiar story: a regional power company is struggling to meet electricity demand. The power grid strains as we draw megawatts of energy into our homes and businesses to keep them cool during a sweltering hot summer day. Around the country, massive coal-fired power plants are running at full capacity, spewing tons of pollution into the air.

Keep It Cool

Reduce waste while back-to-college shopping

  It's time to decorate you dorm and revive your closet before syllabus week. As you hit the stores for new gear, you have the opportunity to reduce waste and pollution in your hometown or college town and make a difference. Stores are attracting students going back to college with big sales and open doors. But during hot days with the air conditioning running, these open doors waste a lot of energy.

Video

The power industry is changing

    In the power sector, utilities are shifting to clean energy because the economic case is so compelling, and the trends are clear: Over the last five years in the US, the fossil fuel industry has retired more electricity generating capacity than they’ve added—which means they’re closing more power plants than they’re opening. This has resulted in a removal of about 20 gigawatts worth of electricity from fossil fuel sources (that’s about 2% of our total

Video

Why drive an electric vehicle

        These days, there’s good reason to think seriously about buying an electric vehicle. First off, picture this: no more gas stations, transmission repairs, oil changes, or timing belt failures. There are far fewer things to break down, which means lower maintenance costs and fewer trips to the mechanic.1

Featured

The deal with LED lighting

    So what's so awesome about LEDs? Well they're much more affordable now, and they last a long time. With average usage, 1 LED light bulb can last upwards of 40 years, saving you about 25 replacements of your standard incandescent bulb (that's that same technology we've been using for the last...hundred years). Also they're way more efficient. Incandescent bulbs on average release 90% of their energy as heat. LED efficiency is constantly improving, but right now, on average, they use about 75% less energy than your average incandescent bulb.

Video

Solar industry growth

      Today we're going over some exciting numbers from the solar industry. How fast exactly is the industry growing? Well this is the fourth consecutive year that solar industry jobs grew by 20% or more. In comparison, last year, jobs in the U.S. economy grew by only 1.5%.2 So the U.S. solar industry is booming and it now employs more workers than natural gas and more than double the number of workers in the coal industry.3

Wind

The energy transition: a conversation with Jeremy Leggett

Acclaimed writer & social entrepreneur Jeremy Leggett stopped by the Generation 180 office to discuss the trends, narratives, and major events that are together accelerating the global transition to clean energy. He speaks from the perspective of an activist, author, and entrepreneur who has been on the front lines of the energy transition for decades.

Solar Schools

How to lead the charge to help your schools go solar

Last month, hundreds of thousands of students around the globe walked out of school to speak up for their future and participate in Youth Strike 4 Climate. The actions of young people like Greta Thunberg and her peers around the world continue to spotlight our need for immediate action. This leadership from schoolchildren begs a follow-up question: can our schools—the institutions that shape and prepare our kids—help bring about a clean energy future as well? Turns out the answer is an emphatic "yes". In Generation 180’s hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, students and parents are advocating for their school districts to advance the adoption of clean energy and energy efficiency. Generation 180 supported community members in a local campaign to advocate for a commitment from two school districts to take stronger climate action. These community members coordinated meetings with school district and municipal staff, drafted school board resolutions, collected petition signatures, and garnered community support. Students from first grade through high school came to school board meetings to share their reasons for wanting clean energy and climate action at their schools. As a result of their efforts, Albemarle County Public Schools passed a resolution last fall that committed to expand efforts to secure renewable energy systems and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Last week, Charlottesville City Schools passed a resolution committing to increased energy performance, clean energy, and water conservation.           Where you come in You may not have realized it yet, but you have the power to help your schools make the switch to clean energy. And you don’t need to be an energy expert: students, parents, teachers, and community members can all lead the charge. All you need is passion, dedication to make a difference in your community, and our newly published Solar Schools Campaign Toolkit.

Featured

Solar-powered science in Michigan

Part 3 of a series of 3 case studies on successful solar school campaigns. Be sure to check out part 1 and part 2 as well. The science department at a southeast Michigan high school is now fully powered by solar energy, thanks to the dedication of a teacher and his students. West Bloomfield High School first received a grant for a 3.4 kilowatt (kW) solar array in 2011. This small solar system generated enough energy to power the science classroom of Joshua Barclay, but his students in the E.A.R.T.H. (Environmentally Aware, Ready To Help) Club wanted to do more.  They wanted to leave a lasting legacy by providing the school with free energy for the future. Over the next few years, Barclay’s students researched what it would take to power the school’s entire science department with clean energy. To estimate the total energy demand, his honors physics class conducted a full energy audit of the department in 2017. They measured the energy draw of every device across all science classrooms, interviewed teachers to find out when the devices were on, and then used the data to estimate the department’s total annual energy use. The students realized that energy efficiency is a critical  step to enabling renewable power. They calculated that simply upgrading all of the department’s lighting to LEDs would reduce the energy use by half and make it feasible to power all the entire science department with the addition of a 20 kW solar system. Student-driven solar campaign Barclay and his students in the E.A.R.T.H. club embarked on the solar campaign that they dubbed 20kW by 2020. After two years of dedication and hard work, the students raised nearly $25,000 for the project. They conducted bagel and pizza sales, collected donations for an LED bulb fundraiser, hosted a crowdfunding campaign, and applied for several grants. The E.A.R.T.H. club  also conducted a solar energy resource analysis to determine the best location on campus for the solar system and to calculate the cost savings and reductions in carbon emissions provided by the 20 kW solar system. They made several presentations to the school board to explain the benefits of the school going solar. Once the financing was in place, the school board gave them the approval to go ahead. The students successfully fundraised for the upfront investment of $21,000. With that down payment, the school could lease a 20 kW solar system for 5.5 years and purchase the electricity produced from that system at 10% lower cost than its current wholesale rate.  After the lease period, the school would own the system outright and benefit from the free energy of the sun for the life of the solar panels. The school is expected to save $65,000 in electricity costs over 25 years.  “My students wanted to do this for the school district—to give them free energy for the future,” said Barclay. Hands-on science learning "From conception to installation to operation, our solar energy system has been a fantastic tool to teach real-world science,” says Barclay. West Bloomfield High School students have been actively involved in every step of the process to power the science department with clean energy. Over the course of a few years, students calculated the science department’s energy needs, raised the money for the solar panels, secured school district approval, and even installed the ground-based solar photovoltaic system. Barclay will use the solar system as a tool for real-world learning and work with the E.A.R.T.H. club to learn how maintain the system for peak performance. When the school was given different advice from different solar installers on the best angle to set the solar arrays, this science teacher saw an opportunity for his students to research this real-world question.Beginning in 2019, Barclay’s students are going to experiment with different angles for the solar panel placement to assess which angle generates the most energy over various time scales. They will test different hypotheses to determine the optimal set up for the arrays, and they can share their results with local solar companies.   Benefits beyond the science classroom The students involved in this solar project gained life skills that they will take with them into adulthood. The students applied economics when they had to create a financial goal for the 20 kW solar system, raise the money for their goal, and continue to research new ways to finance the solar system. By advocating for solar to the school board, they were practicing civics and learning the power of expressing their views to their local elected leaders. Throughout the process, the students were mastering their collaboration, communication and problem-solving skills. The new solar panels the students installed will also benefit the community by keeping 30 tons of carbon dioxide pollution out of the atmosphere each year.  The solar panels will be a reminder to the school community of the role we can all play in creating a clean energy future together. “Our solar system is not only accessible to our kids for learning, but it is also in a visible place on our school grounds where the public can see what we are doing and learn that solar is available for all,” said Barclay. Ready to learn more about how to run a successful solar schools campaign in your community? Check out our Solar Schools Campaign Toolkit.

Featured

The basics of rooftop solar

When it comes to solar panels on homes, a lot of us might categorize ourselves as "curious but clueless". We know the basic idea—that solar can create electricity for your home and reduce your utility bill—but beyond that? The whole matter quickly starts feeling a bit mysterious, a bit like uncharted territory. 

Featured

Ten Tips to Help You Conquer The Energy Challenge

More than ever before, individuals like us can help drive forward our transition to clean energy. We have the power to stand up, speak up, and make smart choices—in how we power our homes, cars, schools, cities—and so much more. We’ve just launched our Energy Challenge to make it simpler and easier to take everyday action in your own life.

Featured

Head of the class: School districts lead the charge towards 100% clean energy

Part 2 of a series of 3 case studies on successful solar school campaigns. See part 1 here. With the price of solar installations dropping dramatically in recent years, schools have increasingly taken advantage of the opportunity to cut energy costs by switching to solar. The amount of solar power generated at U.S. schools has grown by 86% since 2014, and a growing number of school districts from coast to coast are leading the charge towards 100% clean energy. The snapshots below illustrate three different models for school districts to achieve energy independence and pull the plug on electric bills.   

Solar

Thor's hammer and the fight against fossil fuels

As energy consumers, we’re on the front lines of an important battle. Until recently, we didn’t have much say in where we got the electricity we need to power our lives, or how much we paid for this privilege. Our energy choices were dictated to us from the outside, and we either had to be willing participants in the system or…live off the grid.

Solar Schools

Seventh grader switches her school to solar

Part 1 of a series of 3 case studies on successful solar school campaigns. See part 2 here.     Montana seventh grader Claire Vlases propelled her independent study project into a transformation of her school to solar power.

Electric Vehicles

This holiday, put an electric vehicle on your wish list

It’s hard to believe they’re still running those ads—you know, the ones where the spouse surprises her partner with a shiny new SUV, festooned with an oversized red bow? We’re pretty sure that’s never happened in real life—but, if your family happens to be in the market for a new vehicle this year, the holidays can be a really good time to buy. And this year, more than ever, you’d do well to consider driving electric.

Politics

The midterms are over—but your role isn't

With the midterm elections now over, there’s a good chance you’re in one of three camps: 1) those that are thrilled over a victory, 2) those feeling dispirited about a loss, or 3) those that have already moved on to thinking about Thanksgiving plans. But just because you’ve cast your vote, this doesn’t mean you have to cast aside your civic mindedness until November 2020.

Going electric

It's time for schools to hop on the (electric) bus

When someone says the words “electric vehicle,” a giant, lumbering, yellow kid-wagon isn’t the first—or the slickest—product that comes to mind. You might not have even known that someone, somewhere, was making such a vehicle. But here’s the honest truth: electric school buses are here, they’re awesome, and the case for schools adopting them is more compelling than ever.

Going electric

How my weed eater ushered me into the 21st century

The broken cord just hung there, yellowed with age and not sure of what to do or what to be. This particular cord had held for seven years and had served its purpose well—until this balmy July afternoon.

Power Industry

Why we need to electrify everything

What does it take to get fossil fuels out of our lives? A big part of the answer is “the electrification of everything”. No, it’s not just industry jargon—it’s a key concept worth understanding, as it's playing a key role in our transition to a society powered by clean, renewable energy. 

Solar

"Local Energy": why it's happening now

We hear a lot these days about “going local.” We might shop at the farmers market or choose to support mom-and-pop businesses in our community. Yet when it comes to energy, we usually just flip the switch or fill up the tank, without thinking much about it. Fortunately, there are rewarding ways we can go local with our energy, too.

Politics

As governments, businesses, and investors “take ambition to the next level”, it’s time for American households to do the same

On Friday, California Governor Jerry Brown ended the Global Climate Action Summit he organized in San Francisco with a rallying cry: “This week, cities, states, businesses, and nonprofits stepped up and took strong action.... Now it’s time to take this momentum back home.”

Video

The new face of energy

The energy transition is happening. Across the world we are seeing radical shifts in how we produce our energy, and how we use. Energy democracy has come to the American household in the form of new products like electric vehicles and affordable solar panels. Products like these provide us with energy independence, more money in our wallets, and a healthier future. This is the new face of energy.

Drawdown

Why we joined the Drawdown Coalition

We’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with fellow nonprofit Project Drawdown by joining the Drawdown Coalition—a growing network of over 200 researchers, business leaders, policy makers, and solution implementers working towards the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming: Drawdown.  

Video

Wind surpasses hydro

    Wind surpassed hydropower energy as the biggest source of renewable electricity here in the U.S. thanks to a tripling of wind capacity since 2008.1 You may be wondering where are all these wind turbines going up? Well, the top 3 states are Texas, Iowa, and Oklahoma.1So how much power are we actually talking about here? Well, wind now has the capacity to power over 24 million American homes.2 And with wind and solar adding capacity faster than fossil fuels the power industry3 is undergoing a major and profound transformation.

Keep It Cool

O'Malley calls for "seizing America's renewable energy future"

  Highlights from Gov. O'Malley's presentation on 100% clean energy. To learn more about the "New Energy Narrative" click here.   Governor O'Malley delivered a clear call to action on Monday for Americans to make bold strides towards a clean energy future in his talk at Green Builder Media's second annual Sustainability Symposium in Orlando.

Electric Vehicles

Meet your electrified neighbors: 2017 National Drive Electric Week

Ever wonder who exactly is driving those Teslas, Chevy Bolts, and Nissan Leafs around your town? Well those car owners are gathering at an event near you this week, and they’re ready to answer all your burning questions about what life is actually like with an electric vehicle.

Video

Ten reasons why "Keep It Cool" is smart for retailers

    Turn on the local news on any summer day, and there's a decent chance you might hear a familiar story: a regional power company is struggling to meet electricity demand. The power grid strains as we draw megawatts of energy into our homes and businesses to keep them cool during a sweltering hot summer day. Around the country, massive coal-fired power plants are running at full capacity, spewing tons of pollution into the air.

Keep It Cool

Reduce waste while back-to-college shopping

  It's time to decorate you dorm and revive your closet before syllabus week. As you hit the stores for new gear, you have the opportunity to reduce waste and pollution in your hometown or college town and make a difference. Stores are attracting students going back to college with big sales and open doors. But during hot days with the air conditioning running, these open doors waste a lot of energy.

Video

The power industry is changing

    In the power sector, utilities are shifting to clean energy because the economic case is so compelling, and the trends are clear: Over the last five years in the US, the fossil fuel industry has retired more electricity generating capacity than they’ve added—which means they’re closing more power plants than they’re opening. This has resulted in a removal of about 20 gigawatts worth of electricity from fossil fuel sources (that’s about 2% of our total

Video

Why drive an electric vehicle

        These days, there’s good reason to think seriously about buying an electric vehicle. First off, picture this: no more gas stations, transmission repairs, oil changes, or timing belt failures. There are far fewer things to break down, which means lower maintenance costs and fewer trips to the mechanic.1

Featured

The deal with LED lighting

    So what's so awesome about LEDs? Well they're much more affordable now, and they last a long time. With average usage, 1 LED light bulb can last upwards of 40 years, saving you about 25 replacements of your standard incandescent bulb (that's that same technology we've been using for the last...hundred years). Also they're way more efficient. Incandescent bulbs on average release 90% of their energy as heat. LED efficiency is constantly improving, but right now, on average, they use about 75% less energy than your average incandescent bulb.

Video

Solar industry growth

      Today we're going over some exciting numbers from the solar industry. How fast exactly is the industry growing? Well this is the fourth consecutive year that solar industry jobs grew by 20% or more. In comparison, last year, jobs in the U.S. economy grew by only 1.5%.2 So the U.S. solar industry is booming and it now employs more workers than natural gas and more than double the number of workers in the coal industry.3

Wind

The energy transition: a conversation with Jeremy Leggett

Acclaimed writer & social entrepreneur Jeremy Leggett stopped by the Generation 180 office to discuss the trends, narratives, and major events that are together accelerating the global transition to clean energy. He speaks from the perspective of an activist, author, and entrepreneur who has been on the front lines of the energy transition for decades.

Be Energy AwareStay Connected