Helios Bay Area

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What's New

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Oakland Unified Installs 3.6 MW of Solar!

Oakland Unified School District recently celebrated the installation of 3.6MW of solar at 16 schools. OUSD and KyotoUSA worked together to develop a Solar Master Plan that enabled the District to locate appropriate school sites for solar - both rooftop and parking structures, as well as estimate the cost and long term economic, environmental, and educational benefits of the solar systems. OUSD estimates that it will save $1,000,000 annually that can be used for educational purposes.

The celebration can be viewed here.

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New, Low-Cost Federal Bonds Available for Public School Solar Projects

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has recently announced the availability of low cost bonds that local governments, including public school districts, can use to finance the installation of renewable energy projects.

Called New Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (New CREBs), the low interest bonds can be used to build photovoltaic (PV) systems to offset (or even eliminate) the cost of electricity consumed by a schools throughout a school district.

The application period opens on March 5, 2015 and closes on June 3, 2015. Please contact us if you are interested in applying, or check out an overview of how to go applying for an allocation here.

The law firm McGuireWoods has published a summary of the New CREBs program here.

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Upcoming Tariff Changes - Economic Impacts

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved two significant changes in tariffs that will have impacts on the ecomonics of K-12 solar projects. One change is welcome, the other has not yet been finalized, so its impacts are uncertain. Nevertheless, most industry leaders believe that the changes will make K-12 solar projects less economically attractive than they are today. If your school district has been considering solar, now is the time to look at that possibility more closely.

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Solar Master Plans for Public Schools

KyotoUSA and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are pleased to announce the release of the Solar Master Plans developed for Berkeley, Oakland and West Contra Costa Unified School Districts.