When it comes to solar-powered schools, New Jersey ranks No. 2 in the nation, according to a new report by The Solar Foundation.

Solar Energy
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The study, "Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools," found 379 schools in the Garden State are currently powered by solar energy and nearly 100 percent of the 3,000 non-solar schools could go solar in a very cost-effective manner.

According to the report, there are five times more solar schools nationwide, 3,700, than there were in 2008. Those schools bring in an annual cost savings of $75 million. Of the 125,000 schools across the country, more than half have the potential to convert to solar energy.

"If solar can be used to save money, to pay for teachers and to enhance education, then it should be," said Andrea Luecke, president and executive director of The Solar Foundation. "It's really a trifecta. It saves money, it helps to create educational opportunities and it's good for the environment."

Other findings include:

  • Sixteen different school districts in New Jersey can save a million dollars or more over 30 years by investing in a solar energy system.
  • With 81 out of 278 (29 percent) school districts in the state classified as "underperforming," the cost savings could be reinvested into improving schools' performance.
  • Six of the 81 underperforming districts could save over $1 million in 30 years.
  • If New Jersey were to reach its total solar potential on schools, the total savings for the state would amount to over $137 million.

For more information and to view the report in its entirety, visit thesolarfoundation.org.