News Archives


July 19, 2013

CEC Press Release on Prop 39.

July 18, 2013

CDE Web Page for Prop 39.

June 14, 2013

Summary of Conference Committee Proposition 39 Action

June 3, 2013

SEC's letter to the Budget Conference Committee

June 6, 2013

Conference Committee Education Agenda

April 9, 2013

Senator DeLeon Holds Regional Hearing on Proposition 39 in Riverside

Courtesy of Ted Rozzi, SEC member and Assistant Superintendent of Facilities at the Corona Norco Unified School District

April 4, 2013

Click here to view the agenda of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee No. 1 on Education regarding Proposition 39.


March 26, 2013

Click here to view the latest on Proposition 39 in the SEC NewsWire

March 6, 2013

Click here to view the letter the School Energy Coalition submitted to Senator Alex Padilla, Chair of the Senate Energy Utilities and Communications Committee regarding their February 19 Hearing. 


January 17, 2013

SEC's Comparison of SB 39, AB 39 and the Governor's proposal for Proposition 39 Implementation

January 13, 2013

LAO Analysis of Proposition 39 Implementation

January 10, 2013

Governor's Budget Proposal for K-12 Education

December 12, 2012

Senator De Leon Unveils Proposition 39

December 11, 2012

SEC's paper on Implementing Proposition 39

December 4, 2012

SB 39 Bill Introduced (DeLeon)

December 3, 2012

AB 39 Bill Introduced (Skinner)

October 5, 2012

Green Schools Summit Presentation

Impacts of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Legislation on California Schools


August 24, 2012: AB 1186 Action Requested!

August 24, 2012: Legislation Update

July 12, 2012: SEC Participates in a White House Roundtable on Efficiency and Schools

July 11, 2012: Cap and Trade Update

June 29, 2012: Legislative Update

June 15, 2012: Activities and Legislative Update

May 25, 2012: SB 1165 Update

May 18, 2012: Off-Site Solar Bill

May 3, 2012: Mount Diablo USD Solar Project

May 1, 2012: SEC Update

April 27, 2012: Andrew McAllister Appointed Energy Commisioner

April 25, 2012: SB 1165 Passes Senate Energy Committee

April 23, 2012: DOE Announcement and SB 1165 (Wright) Letters Still Needed!


April 16, 2012

Letters recently sent to the Legislature

April 10, 2012

Letter from DSA Regarding IR 16-8 ("Solar Photovoltaic Review and Approval Requirements")

Click here for the link to review the letter from DSA.



March 22, 2012

Inaugural National Green Ribbon School Award Nominees from CA Announced by CDE

The Department of Education (CDE) has announced its first round of schools that will represent California in a competition for a National Green Ribbon Schools Award a program administered by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).

USDE unveiled the Green Ribbon Schools Program in September 2011.  Each state was allowed to submit up to four nominees, one of which must be a private school.

CDE worked with other state agencies to develop a state Green Ribbon Schools award application with measurable outcomes and put it out for California schools to apply earlier this year.  The state’s award criteria was intended to focus on measurable outcomes wherever possible, and was based on a comprehensive approach incorporating environmental learning with maximizing positive environmental and health impacts.

Some 52 California schools applied for one of programs and underwent a rigorous review before the four finalists were selected:

Environmental Charter met the requirement that one of the four nominations have at least 40 percent of their students from a disadvantaged background.

The California Association of Private School Organizations reviewed the nine private school applications and determined the private school nominee.

See the CDE announcement here.

The applications of the four nominees are being forwarded today to the USDE for award consideration. The winners are expected to be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2012.

Congratulations Green Ribbon School Award nominees!

March 13, 2012

SEC Hosting Webinar TODAY

Please join us today, Tuesday, March 13 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time for a webinar on Starting Solar Projects the Right Way: Benchmarking Your District's Energy and Water Use and Using Solar Master Plans to Assure Success.

Click here for more information and to register.

March 7, 2012

School Energy Coalition (SEC) Board Member Testifies on Net Energy Meeting TODAY

Today, SEC Board Member Art Hand, Assistant Superintendent for Facilities and Planning at Lodi Unified School District will be speaking before the Assembly Select Committee on California's Clean Energy Economy in the State Capitol.  The School Energy Coalition (SEC) was asked to share its perspective on schools and energy projects within a broader discussion of Net Energy Metering (NEM). 

Click here to view Board Member Hand's testimony.

As you may know, NEM allows you to "credit back" excess electricity produced by renewable generation that is not used immediately by the school.  The credit can then be applied at a time when production is lower than usage, such as during winter months or cloudy days where production is not optimum.

NEM is currently capped because utilities successfully argued that you cannot have an imbalance in those who are off the grid and those who remain and share the costs of the distribution infrastructure - the wires that bring electricity to customer’s ratepayers. There is a discussion going on now about how this cap is calculated and whether it is at the appropriate level given the interest and usage of renewable power over the past decade.

There are also potential rate cases, such as the one in San Diego with the San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), that are moving forward to raise rates on renewable power and generation that could impact the cost of these projects and the power they generate.

SEC will continue to advocate for greater opportunities and funding for energy and efficiency and renewable projects for schools.  We will be participating in a briefing on this issue with the Legislative Environmental Caucus later this month and will be introducing our bill, Senate Bill 1165 (Wright), to allow schools to better participate in California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) proceeding by them to be eligible to participate in the CPUC's Intervener Compensation Program. 

Please join us as we continue to educate state officials about the interest and investments we have made in school energy projects statewide.

February 27, 2012

Please join us on Tuesday, March 13 at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time for a webinar on Starting Solar Projects the Right Way: Benchmarking Your District's Energy and Water Use and Using Solar Master Plans to Assure Success.

Click here for more information and to register.

February 10, 2012

The School Energy Coalition will hold a membership meeting during the C.A.S.H. Annual Conference on Tuesday, February 21 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 317/318 of the Sacramento Convention Center. The meeting is open to all SEC members and those interested in becoming a member.

We are pleased to announce that we will have several guest speakers in regards to energy-related legislation, discussion on the SDG&E rate making case. To see the full agenda, please use the link below.

SEC Membership Meeting Agenda

January 5, 2012

Article: Blazing A Trail For Community-Based Clean Energy

December 6, 2011

SAB Hearing on Solar and Efficiency Options for Schools held on December 5

Please see the documents that were provided at this hearing below:

DOE Issues Report on Financing Solar Photovoltaic Systems for K-12 Schools and Highlights Honor for DOE SunShot Director

October 20, 2011

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released a report titled, "Solar Schools Assessment and Implementation Project: Financing Options for Solar Installations on K-12 Schools," detailing best practices for financing and installing photovoltaic (PV) systems on school buildings. The Department also applauded the director of DOE's SunShot Initiative, Ramamoorthy Ramesh, who was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) during a ceremony at the organization's annual meeting, held in Washington, D.C., October 16th and 17th. Ramesh was elected for his contributions to the science and technology of functional complex oxide materials, which he has applied to his work advancing solar energy technologies. Membership in NAE is considered one of the highest honors in the engineering profession, and includes leaders in business, academia, and government.

Produced under the SunShot initiative—a collaborative national effort to reduce the cost of solar energy 75% to make it cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade—the report released today examines the successful development of Solar Master Plans (SMPs) for three California public school districts—Oakland, Berkeley, and West Contra Costa Unified School Districts. Installing solar energy systems on public schools can help school districts save money on their utility bills, reduce carbon emissions, support job creation, and provide students with opportunities to learn about clean energy.

The newly released report examines the two primary types of ownership models used to obtain solar installations. This analysis can help school administrators across the country select the best option for deploying solar technologies in their school districts. The study supports DOE's SunShot initiative goal of addressing critical barriers, such as the availability of financing, to accelerate the integration of solar energy technologies across the United States.

The report focuses on financial options developed specifically for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Some highlights of the report include:

  • An introduction to financing PV installations on schools

  • A look at the direct-ownership option, which takes advantage of financing mechanisms such as general funds, bonds, construction funds, and grants

  • A review of the third-party finance model, including power purchase agreements and energy services performance contracts.

In addition to comparing a range of financing options for PV installations, the report provides real-world examples of financing solar installations on K-12 schools and other public facilities. These examples may be used by school districts around the country to help them navigate the process of financing PV installations.

Download the complete reportPDF.

Watch DOE's Energy 101 video about photovoltaic solar energy systems.

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Learn more about the SunShot Initiative and DOE's efforts to expand safe, readily available, and inexpensive solar energy across the nation by the end of the decade. For more information about the Solar America Showcases awards, visit the Solar America Showcases Web page.

SEC to Participate in Workshop at Green Schools Summit in Pasadena

On October 17, 2011, SEC, along with members of the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (C.A.S.H.) and other industry leaders, will present a workshop titled, "Energy-It's the Key to Begin the Green Process." SEC's role will be presenting why school involvement in energy policy is important. It will include informaiton on state and federal legislation. Please join us at the workshop on October 17 at 10:45 a.m. at the Green Schools Summit at the Pasadena Convention Center.

U.S. Department of Energy Releases Second Installment of Energy Design Guides

October 12, 2011.  The U.S. Department of Energy today announced the release of the second installment in a series of four 50% Advanced Energy Design Guides (AEDGs). This latest guide will help architects, engineers, and contractors design and build highly efficient K-12 school buildings, saving taxpayer dollars.

DOE 50% Advanced Energy Design Guides


SB 136 Signed by Governor

Senate Bill 136 (Yee) was signed by the Governor over this past weekend.  We have not yet been able to locate a signing message and nothing has been posted to the Governor's website at this time.

SEC believes it was a tough decision, and SEC was receiving calls from the Governor’s office late last week about estimated added costs. However, labor made this bill a priority and ultimately it was signed by the Governor.

SEC appreciates the coalition we were able to form with special districts, localities, the school boards association and others who understood that any added costs would be problematic for power purchase agreements for local public agencies, and we are grateful that we were able to turn back the competitive bidding bill that would have been more problematic in the long term.

SEC Sends Veto Request to Governor on SB 136 (Yee)

View the SEC Veto Request Letter Here.

Solar Power Coming to 90+ California Schools

More than ninety schools in California are taking advantage of the California Solar Initiative and installing solar projects. The California Solar Initiative is an incentive program to get companies, schools, and homes to switch to solar power. The program gives cash back for installing solar power, California hopes to move the state towards running completely on clean energy, from using a coffee maker in the morning, to opening your garage door, California wants its residents to operate on solar power. The program almost works like a rebate program, where residents are reimbursed for installing solar power and then receiving incentives on their bill.


See More....


DOE to Hold Lighting Workshop in San Jose

The U.S. Department of Energy's Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium will hold its Southwest Region Workshop on August 25 - 26 in San Jose, California. The City of San Jose is hosting the workshop-the Consortium's final regional workshop in 2011-and welcomes designers, consultants, utility and city representatives, government agencies, and energy efficiency organizations that evaluate and implement light-emitting diode (LED) street lighting solutions.

The presentations will include an overview of the City of San Jose's LED street lighting program, discussion of remote monitoring and adaptive lighting controls, guidance for understanding and using solid-state lighting standards, and more. In addition, a representative from the Clinton Climate Initiative will present their cost-benefit analysis tool, which the Consortium has adapted, that evaluates costs and environmental impact reductions associated with LED street light installations.

The registration fee for this workshop is $175.

Visit the event website for more information and to register:

For the full story:

SEC sends letter to Assembly Appropriations on SB 136 (Yee)

The School Energy Coalition has sent a letter to the Assembly Appropriations Committee with an Oppose Unless Amended position.

Recently proposed amendments to the bill (which originally required energy service contracts to be competitively bid) will now add Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to the definition of public projects for the purposes of applying prevailing wage. 

The three elements that must be in place for this to happen is:  1.) the project must be an energy efficiency or renewable energy project; 2.) placed on property owned in whole or in part by the public entity; and 3.) that the power is primarily purchased by or savings will be incurred by a public entity.  The first two elements seem like a no-brainer for prevailing wage, the third is where it appears to be moving into the realm of the PPA.

In addition, the bill is now very similar to another legislative bill on this issue, one that currently addresses school projects only, Assembly Bill 436 (Solorio).  SB 136 remains broader in focus as it continues to apply to contracts with states or “political subdivisions” of the state (read: local agencies, special districts and schools).

Our big concern regarding this new language is if both SB 136 and AB 436 pass, which law would apply to schools?


Our letter to the Appropriations Committee raises the issue of the conflict with Solorio’s bill and also expresses concern regarding the energy generation and savings portion and the costs that could be added to these projects.  We have taken an “opposed unless amended” position asking that the energy portions be removed. 

On a positive note, we are a far cry from where the Yee bill began in requiring competitive bidding for energy service contracts (SB 118), as that bill is finally dead. 


SEC SB 136 Letter

SB 136 Proposed Amendments

SEC & C.A.S.H.-Joint Workshop

The School Energy Coalition will be co-sponsoring a workshop on Planning School Energy Projects on July 26 and 29 in Sacramento and Ontario. Attendees will be schools and consultants, architects and planners - all folks who are interested or already are working on energy projects with schools. 

We envision a thorough overview for schools that would like to begin an approach toward controlling energy use and potentially generating renewable power.  The workshop will be discuss conservation and efficiency measures, renewable options, financing, state programs and will showcase some school projects. 

We want schools to be able to wrap their arms around something they can do now and not feel so overwhelmed about dealing with their energy use.  As you know, these savings are more valuable than ever at a time of severe budget cuts - but come with risk and cannot be done without clear leadership and transparency.

See more information and register here.

The dates of the workshop are Tuesday, July 26 in Sacramento and Friday, July 29 in Ontario.

The School Energy Coalition (SEC) successfully addressed energy service contracts impacts under prevailing wage - another win for SEC!

Senate Bill 136 (Yee) is a bill that provides that energy service contracts are public works projects for the purposes of prevailing wage requirements and comply with labor code.  SEC Members were concerned that the bill would have captured other engineering and analysis functions that were not construction related under its broad language.

SEC raised these issues with the author’s staff and the committee consultant to address these concerns.  SEC also testified in the Labor Committee on July 6. The result was that Senator Yee agreed to accept amendments that will apply prevailing wage rules only to the energy service contract construction-related jobs - which is almost always the case on school projects today.  Senator Yee made clear in his opening remarks on the bill that he understood the concerns of the opposition and that he was willing to take amendments.  We will be working with their staff to review amends.

It passed in the Committee 5-2.  We will continue to monitor the bill for any further amendments as it moves through the Legislative Process.

Request for SEC Support of AB 1150 (Perez) - Your Input Needed

SEC’s reputation is growing.  We have received a request to support this AB 1150 (Perez) a bill that would provide additional funding for Distributed Generation (DG) by collecting additional dollars from ratepayers.  See the AB 1150 Coalition letter, Fact Sheet, bill, and bill analysis.

Schools are eligible to apply for these funds, although I do not know of any specific schools that have taken advantage of the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP).   Sponsors tell us that schools have applied for 718 kW worth of SGIP. 

SEC is seeking your thoughts and input on this bill.   

July 5 Legislative Action

SB 136 (Yee) will be heard in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. This bill’s intent is to address prevailing wage (PW) issues by categorizing local agency energy service contracts under Government Code 4217, as public works per the state Labor Code that governs PW.  We are concerned that other facets of these energy service contracts, that are not construction related, may be captured in this bill.  These are services that are related to the analysis of energy savings, consulting, and engineering work that may be fee-based.  We have sent a coalition letter with an oppose unless amended position.  You can review the letter here.

SB 436 (Solorio) is another bill that is attempting to get at renewable energy projects and prevailing wage but is focused only private contracts for projects wholly or partially owned by a school district or community college district or located on school property.  It’s supported by a list of trade unions and its only opposition is Associated Builders and Contractors of California (not union).

Both bills seem to be trying to get to work that is being done under private contract such as Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) whereby private companies may be using their own workers on projects related to equipment that may remain under their ownership. 



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