"Dear Capistrano Unified School District: Let's go solar!"

 

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Who are we?

From San Juan Hills High School to San Clemente High, we're a grassroots coalition of student clubs. We're students, parents, teachers, faculty, taxpayers, community members, and everyone else in between.

What are we doing?

We're coming together to ask our school district to pursue solar installations on our six high schools. The financial benefits are crystal clear, and less money spent on utilities means more money going into education and extracurriculars. Awesome!

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how will we fund the project?

The district can use a combination of government programs set up to fund school solar projects, including Prop 39, QZABs, California Energy Commission 0% interest loans, and low interest Clean Renewable Energy Bonds.

Capistrano Unified School District spends millions of dollars each year on energy.

 

Image by Environment California Research & Policy Center (does not include all districts w/ solar)

We can generate our own electricity. School solar projects have consistently proven to save money beyond their cost of purchase and maintenance. Districts successful with solar in southern California include Los Angeles USD, Irvine USD, Newport-Mesa USD, and Santa Ana USD. Solar technology has dramatically changed even within the past 3-4 years, with efficiency shooting up and price shooting down. As the cost for electricity rises over time, our savings will increase further.

To start, we want to put solar panels on our high schools. They use the most electricity, so the most money can be saved there. 

 

 

We're taking the stewardship of our planet into our own hands.

 

As citizens of the next generation, we the students recognize climate change as a serious threat to our future and our children's future. This project is our contribution to solving the challenge. Solar energy replaces the need to burn fossil fuels and therefore reduces the carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming. Additional benefits include lessening local air pollution (smog) and improving our country's energy independence. The size of these issues is much bigger than we are, but small steps add up to long distances!

 

Image by NREL

Image by NREL

We've teamed up with folks who have the experience to walk our district through the process.

 

KyotoUSA, a Berkeley based non-profit organization, is supporting us in these efforts. They have assisted school districts throughout the state install more than 26 MW of solar, pro bono (free of charge). Here’s a very recent news article about San Ramon Valley USD (KyotoUSA worked with the district’s initial 3.3 MW solar project in 2011) who are now preparing to put solar on 13 more schools.