New Jersey and Pennsylvania legislatures and school boards are serious about implementing solar energy at schools. So serious, in fact, that some officials are endeavoring to put the practice into law.

In New Jersey, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora is the leading sponsor of Bill A1084, which would require any new school construction plans to include a solar energy system. The Department of Education in Pennsylvania is likewise taking matters into its own hands. This coming Friday, the department will introduce changes to its school construction policies that are said to knock down some of the barriers school districts face when considering green investments.

Solar industry officials largely agree that schools are among the best candidates for both financial and physical reasons. Solar energy systems atop schools still produce power during the summertime when school is out and the power is not being used. That allows schools to sell their excess energy back to the local utility company. The systems provide reliable savings and revenue — a huge draw for New Jersey schools, which badly need financial support, according to state Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes, who supports Guscoria’s bill. Physically, the flat, open rooftops of most schools are well suited for solar energy systems.

That’s not always the case, however. According to, New Jersey may have an easier time passing its measure than Pennsylvania. A main sticking point in New Jersey seems to be how to best handle cases in which a given school is not a good candidate for solar panel installation. If a school’s roof is shaded, for instance, the policy would have to allow for exceptions or work around solutions.

While California has established a solar schools program to promote the use of solar power in public schools, New Jersey would be the first state in the country to require solar energy atop its schools.

Source: Get Solar.