Solar Schools Program (California) State Grant Program

From Open Energy Information


Last modified on September 25, 2013.

Financial Incentive Program

Place California

Name Solar Schools Program
Incentive Type State Grant Program
Applicable Sector Schools
Eligible Technologies Photovoltaics
Active Incentive No
Implementing Sector State/Territory
Energy Category Renewable Energy Incentive Programs
Amount 90% of the purchase and installation cost

Equipment Requirements 20 kW maximum of photovoltaics in each school district

Maximum Incentive System cost including installation must not exceed 8.50 per watt

Program Administrator California Energy Commission

References DSIRE[1]


The California Energy Commission and the California Power Authority introduced the Solar Schools Program in October 2002. The program will distribute $1.75 million in grants for public schools to install rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems. The money is from settlements reached between Attorney General Bill Lockyer and two energy companies with long-term contracts with the state. Calpine Energy Services agreed to pay $6 million and Constellation Power Source Inc. agreed to pay $2.5 million. Of that total, $2.75 million will be used for retrofitting schools, hospitals and other public buildings, Lockyer's office said. More money could become available if Lockyer renegotiates additional long-term contracts with other energy companies.

The Solar Schools Program offers a rebate of up to 90 percent of the purchase and installation cost of PV systems. School districts may also arrange for a loan from the California Energy Commission's Energy Efficiency Financing Program to cover the remaining 10 percent of project cost. The Solar Schools Program's funds are available for a maximum of 20 kilowatts of PV within each school district and system cost must not exceed $8.50 per watt. These 20 kW may be installed as one system or as multiple systems on different schools within a district.

Eligible Schools include all public schools in California with electric service provided by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison Company (SCE), or San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E). Schools must have already installed high efficiency fluorescent lighting (T8 lamps and electronic ballasts) in at least 80 percent of the classrooms, or have implemented other energy efficiency measures of equivalent or greater energy savings. A curriculum tie-in plan to educate students about solar energy must be incorporated at the school site where the PV system is installed and the curriculum must meet the guidelines established by the California Department of Education.

PV systems meeting the requirements of the California Energy Commission's Buydown Program are eligible. Systems must meet the California Division of State Architect guidelines for solar system installations, including structural support.

To reserve a rebate, schools or school districts should obtain a copy of the Emerging Renewable Resources Account Guidebook, which contains the forms you will need, with the exception of the curriculum tie-in certification. Submit a Solar Schools Program Preliminary Reservation Request Form (CEC-1890-C-1c) with the necessary supporting documentation.

Incentive Contact

Contact Name Dale Trenschel
Department California Energy Commission
Address 1516 Ninth Street, MS-45
Place Sacramento, California
Zip/Postal Code 95814-5512
Phone (916) 653-2834


  • Incentive and policy data are reviewed and approved by the N.C. Solar Center's DSIRE project staff.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1  "Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE)"