Solar Providing a Brighter Future for California Schools
The California Bright Schools Program was born out of a vision to create a way for school districts to promote solar energy, save general fund dollars, and provide educational opportunities for students and teachers. This program helps to identify the most cost-effective energy saving opportunities and support the installation of photovoltaic solar systems on schools across the state.
The solar installations support curriculum that aligns with the state’s testing requirements and provides hands-on learning tools for schools. The panels installed on campuses bring daily attention to clean energy and provide a direct educational opportunity.
Schools that take part in the Bright Schools Program and implement energy efficiency initiatives are able to enjoy greater budget stability and predictability as a result of locking in long-term fixed electricity prices. Beyond the savings in energy costs provided by hosting these projects, the schools can also sell renewable energy certificates (RECs) generated by the systems, which help fund renewable energy education and provide an additional revenue stream to support school district operations.
The Milpitas Unified School District serves as a great example of how schools are directly benefiting from the Bright Schools Program. 3Degrees worked with the school district to help them build revenue through the sale of RECs generated from their solar system. As a participant in the Program, the district is expected to save $12 million over the portfolio’s lifespan.
+ The use of solar helps avoid the greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil fuel electricity generation. Projects like Bright Schools create a high-profile, visible symbol of solar power’s potential to meet the nation’s growing energy needs.
+ Self-ownership of solar allows schools to lower their electricity bills.
+ The PV panels provide an on-site, living solar energy laboratory for science, math, and other lessons.