Solar

$4.5 Million in Rebates Help put Solar on 30 Schools

Thirty schools throughout California will get financial incentives from the state to produce their own electricity from the plentiful California sun. Under the Energy Commission’s Solar School Program, the schools will share US$4.5 million in incentives to install their own solar photovoltaic (PV) systems of up to 30 kW.

Program recipients are grade schools and high schools within the territory of California’s three largest investor owned utility companies – Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric. The schools will harvest a total of 700 kW from their systems and will help California inch closer to its goal of producing 20 percent of its electricity from the sun and other renewable sources by 2010. The $4.5 million in incentives are shared equally by the Energy Commission’s Emerging Renewables Program and the California Attorney General’s AGAERA funds – short for Alternative Energy Retrofit Account. The account comes from settlements from the state’s energy investigation into power companies for illegal electricity pricing practices during the energy crisis of 2001 to 2002. Over 60 school districts applied for the one-time $6.40-a-watt special rebate incentive – twice the amount of the regular Emerging Renewables Program rebate level for solar, wind, and other eligible systems at the time. Only half of the public and charter schools applying for the program met eligibility requirements and were awarded reservations before the limited funds were fully subscribed. These requirements include a board resolution indicating the readiness to build including a signed contract with a retailer; that the applicant has previously installed energy efficient lighting, and will be ready for a curriculum tie-in to teach school children on the benefits of solar energy and conservation. If the system produces an excess amount of power on sunny days, the electricity is fed into the utility grid under a net metering agreement with the utility, turning the customer’s electric meter backwards. Electricity is drawn from the grid in the evening and often during days when the system does not produce as much electricity as the school needs. The following is a list of schools and the approved reservation funds to build their systems.