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Approved Funding for K-12 School Energy Projects Exceeds $1 Billion

Facilities being upgraded with funds from the Clean Energy Jobs Act

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California school facilities are being upgraded with the approval of more than $1 billion from the Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39) K-12 Program. Energy efficiency and clean energy generation projects have already been completed in 52 school districts around the state that are projected to save the annual energy consumption equivalent of more than 2,000 homes - and save the school districts nearly $2.5 million in annual energy costs.

This milestone and others are described in the second annual California Energy Commission progress report sent to the Proposition 39 Citizens Oversight Board. Voters approved the Proposition 39 K-12 Program in 2012 to adjust the corporate income tax code for five years. The program allocates projected revenues to the Clean Energy Job Creation Fund to fund projects that improve energy efficiency and expand clean energy generation in schools.

The report, which the Citizens Oversight Board adopted in February, includes information and project data covering December 2013 through June 2016. During that time $-673 million in energy efficiency upgrades were approved by the Energy Commission. The California Department of Education also approved $154 million in planning funds. From June 2016 through March 2017, an additional $260 million was approved by the Energy Commission. Schools are required to submit a progress report annually to the Energy Commission for approved energy projects. Final reports must be filed once a project is complete and the school has gathered 12 months of energy use data.

The Energy Commission report included 981 energy project applications submitted by 914 school districts, benefitting 3,519 project school sites. The 52 school districts with completed project reports represent $27 million of Proposition 39 funding. An additional 174 school districts have completed project construction and have shifted into the data collection phase. This represents $104 million in Proposition 39 funding. Another 733 energy projects are still in the construction phase, with $151 million in Proposition 39 expenditures.

Proposition 39 requires schools to complete steps to secure and contract out for funding by June 30, 2018, which requires applications to be submitted to the Energy Commission by August 1, 2017. The report identified this timeline as a major challenge to the program, effectively shortening the program by 11 months.

The report also highlights the information on the Energy Commission's zero-interest loan program, known as the Energy Conservation Assistance Act - Education Subaccount (ECAA-ED) and the Bright Schools Program. Both programs were appropriated funds through Proposition 39 and complement the K-12 grant program.