Residents of the Jersey shore know all about sun worship. We rely on it to help fuel the shore economy.

Now colleges and school districts  in the state are finding a new way to harness the sun.  Almost every school bond election over the last year has included one or more proposals to install solar panels.

The panels both save energy, and generate tax credits, so it's a win-win for the schools.

The state's public colleges have also been getting on board, using solar carports to generate power. Richard Stockton College already has carports on several parking lots. 

The carports have been pretty popular with students, who like the extra protection they get from the weather.

Atlantic Cape Community College last month approved a contract with Pepco Energy to install a 2.3 megawatt system, and a 3.5 megawatt carport project will begin construction this month at William Paterson University. Both projects are expected to generate about 20 percent of the colleges' power, and are among the largest such projects in the country.  

Parking lots are probably the least attractive featureof any college campus. They're necessary, but eat up a lot of land. 

Now they are becoming showpieces, demonstrating the colleges' commitment to green energy and financial efficiency.