This past November, California voters passed Proposition 39, creating a $550 million fund for energy efficiency, clean energy and green jobs programs, demonstrating once again that Californians are overwhelming in favor of a clean energy future.

Two bills, AB 39 (Skinner, D-Berkeley) and SB 39 (De Leon, D-Los Angeles) have been introduced in the legislature to determine the specifics about how the funds will be spent. To date, much of the buzz around the Prop. 39 bills has focused on efficiency projects at schools and other public buildings. There is no doubt that energy efficiency projects make good sense for our schools.  And there is no doubt that our cash-strapped schools need the savings that energy efficiency and solar energy combined can provide.

Throughout the state, California public schools are beginning to invest in solar projects to help clean our air, fight global warming and redirect scarce school dollars into supplies and text books for children—instead of dirty energy that pollutes our air. 

For instance, the Golden Valley Unified School District, which serves just under 2,000 students in the Central Valley’s Madera County, is projected to save $9 million over a 25-year period, thanks to the installation of solar panels across the District.

Likewise, the Los Angeles Unified School District’s 42 megawatt solar project is expected free up an average of $800,000 each month for educational programs, when completed. For a district that serves more than 650,000 students, those savings can go a long way.

Whether serving a few thousand or hundreds of thousands of students—California’s public schools are increasingly united by their commitment to a clean energy future.  Let’s match this commitment with programs to enable more of our schools to go solar, saving significant dollars and helping to reduce air pollution at the same time.