DOE Issues Report on Financing Solar Photovoltaic Systems for K-12 Schools and Highlights Honor for DOE SunShot Director
October 20, 2011
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released a report titled, "Solar Schools Assessment and Implementation Project: Financing Options for Solar Installations on K-12 Schools," detailing best practices for financing and installing photovoltaic (PV) systems on school buildings. The Department also applauded the director of DOE's SunShot Initiative, Ramamoorthy Ramesh, who was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) during a ceremony at the organization's annual meeting, held in Washington, D.C., October 16th and 17th. Ramesh was elected for his contributions to the science and technology of functional complex oxide materials, which he has applied to his work advancing solar energy technologies. Membership in NAE is considered one of the highest honors in the engineering profession, and includes leaders in business, academia, and government.
Produced under the SunShot initiative—a collaborative national effort to reduce the cost of solar energy 75% to make it cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade—the report released today supports the ongoing development of Solar Master Plans (SMPs) for three California public school districts—Oakland, Berkeley, and West Contra Costa Unified School Districts. Installing solar energy systems on public schools can help school districts save money on their utility bills, reduce carbon emissions, support job creation, and provide students with opportunities to learn about clean energy.
The newly released report examines the two primary types of ownership models used to obtain solar installations. This analysis can help school administrators across the country select the best option for deploying solar technologies in their school districts. The study supports DOE's SunShot initiative goal of addressing critical barriers, such as the availability of financing, to accelerate the integration of solar energy technologies across the United States.
The report focuses on financial options developed specifically for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Some highlights of the report include:
- An introduction to financing PV installations on schools
- A look at the direct-ownership option, which takes advantage of financing mechanisms such as general funds, bonds, construction funds, and grants
- A review of the third-party finance model, including power purchase agreements and energy services performance contracts.
In addition to comparing a range of financing options for PV installations, the report provides real-world examples of financing solar installations on K-12 schools and other public facilities. These examples may be used by school districts around the country to help them navigate the process of financing PV installations.
Watch DOE's Energy 101 video about photovoltaic solar energy systems.
DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Learn more about the SunShot Initiative and DOE's efforts to expand safe, readily available, and inexpensive solar energy across the nation by the end of the decade. For more information about the Solar America Showcases awards, visit the Solar America Showcases Web page.