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2016 Stanford Solar Schools Project

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About The Project

We undertook a project to comprehensively explore the solar electricity generation potential of selected California K-12 schools. Many interested schools simply do not have the time and resources to undertake such studies, and we sought to fill that need.

2016 Energy Impact Fellowship Project Team: (l to r) Trevor House ‘19, Sneha Ayyagari ‘17
Claudia Brunner ‘17, and Chiamaka Ogwuegbu ‘18

We provided these schools with detailed designs of rooftop, carport, and ground-mounted solar installations using the cloud-based software package developed by Aurora Solar. In addition to the Aurora proposal, we provided participating schools with a detailed policy document outlining federal and state financing opportunities for their solar project — including Prop 39 and federal bond programs — and an Action Plan describing all the important steps for moving forward with a solar installation.

Our hope is that the information we provided to these schools will serve as a catalyst and expedite the typically convoluted and time-consuming process of installing solar in school districts.

Read more about the Solar Schools Project 

Moving Forward

We are actively engaged in seeking partners to more broadly disseminate the methodology and materials that we have compiled, specifically the Action Plan for Schools and Solar Energy in Schools: Policies, Regulations, and Resources documents, to ensure that they are utilized to their greatest potential.  Please direct anyone that might be interested in assisting with this effort to this flyer

Send questions to tomkat_center@stanford.edu

Description of Documents

Action Plan

This document provides an overview of the entire process of installing solar in schools.

Policies, Regulations, and Resources

This document includes a list of bonds, loans, and grants that could potentially finance 100% of the costs of the system. It covers the key stakeholders, regulations, and contacts that schools can use to move forward with the solar project.

Sample Technical and Financial Model  

This provides an example of one technical and financial feasibility model that we created for a school using the Aurora software.

Solar Schools Project Presentation

This slideshow provides a brief overview of the background, methodology, findings, and recommendations from the Stanford Solar Schools Project.

Overview of the Stanford Solar Schools Project

This document provides an overview of our project, including our policy research and modeling of solar installations for individual schools.

Assumptions Used in Technical and Financial Models

This document provides an overview of the assumptions used while creating the installation simulation and financial analysis.

Students & Community Members

Are you interested in pursuing solar energy in your school or school district? Students and community members can be the most effective champions for solar in school districts because they can communicate with school boards and administrators on a regular basis. Please read the Action Plan For Schools, which details important steps to consider when navigating the process of installing solar in your school. Understand that installing solar at your school can often be a long and tedious process. Don’t be discouraged -- with determination and persistence, you can champion a project that will impact your school for years to come. Congratulations on taking the initiative to help your school become more sustainable and save money on energy costs.

School Administration

Are you interested in exploring whether installing solar will reduce your energy bills? After all appropriate energy efficiency measures and improvements are made, installing solar can potentially further reduce energy costs. In addition to Prop 39 Funds, a number of low interest bonds and grants are available to make the process of installing solar panels more affordable. In order to learn more, start by reading the Policy, Regulations, and Resources document for information about applying for grants and bonds, as well as contact information of helpful non-profit organizations and government programs that can help you through the process of installing solar.

Policymakers & Researchers

Are you involved in renewable energy policy or research? Are you interested in learning about the process that school districts go through to get solar for their schools? In our Overview of the Stanford Solar Schools Project, we have summarized the results of our project, including our policy research and modeling of solar installations for individual schools. We give an overview of the challenges that schools face when considering solar and what we did in order to assist them with this process. Our solar installation models are based on individual schools’ electricity consumption and billing data, much of which is available on the California Energy Commission website.

Solar Consultants & Installers

Are you interested in working with schools to help them save money on electricity by installing solar? Many schools choose not to install solar because in the past, consultants have not provided a compelling case for the long term return on investment and feasibility of installing solar energy systems. We used Aurora Solar to conduct in-depth technical and financial models that clearly communicated whether solar was a good option for each school district. Please refer to our Sample Technical and Financial Model to view some of the information that schools found helpful.

Policies, Regulations, and Resources

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Action Plan

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Overview Final Report

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Sample Proposal

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Project Presentation

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Project Flyer

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Additional Resources

Aurora Solar - PV Modeling

We used Aurora Solar to conduct in-depth technical and financial models that clearly communicated whether solar was a good option for each school district.

California Schools Energy Data

Our solar installation models are based on individual schools’ electricity consumption and billing data, much of which is available on the California Energy Commission website.

PV Solar Estimate Calculator

Solar Estimate is a solar calculator showing solar prices and the cost of a solar system after rebates.