Solar Schools Program

June 09, 2004


On May 19, 2004, the Energy Commission adopted specific funding and eligibility requirements for the Solar Schools element of the Emerging Renewables Program (ERP). The Solar Schools Program had lost funding in 2002. With the renewal of funding in 2004 of $2.25 million from the Attorney General's Alternative Energy Retrofit Account (AGAERA), the program is once again providing rebates for photovoltaic systems for public and charter schools that meet certain eligibility requirements. The program is overseen by the Energy Commission and the California Power Authority. Installations of photovoltaic systems at school sites totaling less than 30 kilowatts in size per school district may qualify for additional funding from the AGAERA equal to the standard ERP rebate offered to other ERP applicants for photovoltaic systems. If the standard rebate available is $3.20 per watt, the rebate available for an eligible public school would be $6.40 per watt. However, the total funding incentive (Energy Commission plus AGAERA funds) may not exceed the total installed system cost. To further assist schools, any costs above the total rebate incentive may be financed through a loan from the Energy Commission's Energy Efficiency Financing Program or through a loan from another public agency. Such loans will not be considered in adjusting the ERP rebate level available for the school. Schools approved for the additional incentives will be given 18 month reservations. To be eligible, schools must show they meet all eligibility requirements for the standard rebate and demonstrate they meet the following additional criteria: - The public school provides, or will provide, instruction for any grade between kindergarten through 12th grade - The school has already installed high efficiency fluorescent lighting (T8 lamps and electronic ballasts) in at least 80% of classrooms or has implemented other energy efficient measures with equivalent or greater energy savings as determined by the Energy Commission - The school agrees to establish a curriculum tie-in plan to educate students on the benefits of solar energy and energy conservation Fifteen schools were granted preliminary reservations in 2002 that could not be funded under the Solar Schools Program. These districts will be given preference until June 21, 2004 to reapply to this program for the sites for which they originally applied. Schools that do not meet the requirements of the Solar Schools Program may still qualify for the standard ERP rebate. Schools with an existing standard rebate reservation may reapply for the higher rebate if the system has not been completed. Schools that were granted preliminary reservations in 2002 may reapply for the higher rebate even if the system has been completed. To reapply, submit a completed preliminary reservation request form and a new CEC 1038-R1 form.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: State
Category: Financial Incentive
State: California
Incentive Type: Rebate Program
Web Site:
Administrator: California Energy Commission
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Solar Photovoltaics


Name: Melinda Merritt
Organization: California Energy Commission
Address: 1516 9th Street, MS45
Sacramento CA 95814
Phone: (916) 654-4536

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.