Analysis of Life Cycle Costs and Social Acceptance of Solar Photovoltaic Systems Implementation in Washington State Public Schools
Ghadge, Charusheela A.
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Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are currently the most competent renewable energy methods to retro-fit in and offset electricity for existing and newly constructed school buildings. Amidst the increasing electricity prices every year, depletion of fossil fuels reserves, disturbance in hydrological pattern and damage to present environment, has given stimulation to search for most viable and effectual solution, to offset public schools need for electricity. The present study is focused for state of Washington and in the arena of its public schools. The existing report uses four schools with PV systems as actual case studies. These case studies are evaluated - to understand the Life cycle costs associated and studies the acceptance of PV systems in social context, amongst school community. Two of the four schools examined, show PV systems as economically beneficial while two schools as case studies do not exhibit the same results. Parameters like solar radiation received and peak demand offset by PV, play an essential role in the whole analysis. Based on survey performed, all of the seventeen schools are influenced and have found a newly learning curve - to reinforce renewable ideas at a very young age among students. Though Public schools are surely enthusiastic to implement PV systems, reduced funding per year and decreased incentives are a major concern. Despite this fact, reducing solar module prices, inflation of electricity and all items every year drastically reduces the payback period to less than ten years. Concurrently, diversion of school funding, applying retrofits and or power purchase agreements are certainly some solutions to attain desired objective of study.