Helios Bay Area

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What's New

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BAAQMD funds Solar Master Plans for Bay Area public schools

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District  (BAAQMD) – through its Climate Protection Program -  is providing funding to our HELiOS Project for the development of Solar Master Plans and the establishment of ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager accounts for any public school district in the nine Bay Area counties. Learn more about how you can receive these no-cost services here.

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San Diego Unified develops first ever school district Climate Action Plan

Encouraged by the local PTA, the San Diego Unified School District Board of Directors voted unanimously to develop a Climate Action Plan that promises to put the District on a path to 100% renewable energy for its 200 schools by 2035. You can read the full text of the Resolution 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 schools throughout a school district.

The application period opens on March 5, 2015 and closes when the total allocation is committed.

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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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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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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Testimonials: What Others Are Saying About Our Work

Superintendents, Facilities Directors, Parents, School Board members, and elected officials have all commented on the services that we have provided to school districts.