Still Time to Raise Your Hand for Proposition 39 Funding

K-12 school districts in California have just five months to start the process to improve their facilities and comfort of their students using Proposition 39 funding.

To take advantage of the $2.5 billion in Proposition 39 funding, the wheels have to be in motion well before the state’s August 1, 2017 deadline. The measure directs state funds to local educational agencies to support energy systems optimization and clean energy installations on school campuses.

Prop 39 Timeline

Jumping through all those funding hoops can be intimidating, and ensuring that you are getting the most of out each dollar spent can be a challenge.

Energy systems optimization companies, like SmartWatt, have experts to help districts secure Proposition 39 funding. Armed with a vast knowledge of the legislation — and the procedures necessary to receive funding — districts like Plumas Lake Elementary, quickly had new and improved energy systems, making teaching and learning easier and more comfortable. These upgrades in energy infrastructure saves the district money on their energy bills that can then be redirected back to the classroom for student resources.

To submit a funding request before the August 1, 2017 deadline, there is some homework each district must do.

First up — create an energy efficiency plan. The California Energy Commission requires a plethora of information about the existing system that needs to be incorporated into this plan. The baseline data required includes information like total square footage of facilities, peak use in kilowatts, electrical usage annually in kilowatts per hour, total energy costs annually and the list goes on.

Next, a district needs to devise a list of the energy efficient measures it wants to pursue — things like installing an integrated LED lighting system or installing a solar panel system on their school’s roof. There is a worksheet for this step that requires information like estimated cost, how much the district expects to save in money and energy, and the life expectancy of each proposed energy measure, among other needed figures. The key to this part of the process is having a 1.01 (or higher) savings to investment ratio. This allows to the district to remain cash positive during the upgrade, a state requirement. This ratio means that for every dollar spent, the district will save $1.01.

Once the plan is submitted by the August 1 deadline, the CEC reviews it, which can happen in as few as two days or can take up to months for approval, depending on how busy the commission is.

Once the plan is approved, here are quarterly milestones for the project that need to be met but the project does not have to be completed until 2020.

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