Solar Schools Working Group Meeting Minutes: May 6, 2013

By Emily Stiever on May 8, 2013

We had a great discussion yesterday as part of our Solar Schools Working Group. Below are some notes from the call and next steps. Our next meeting will be May 20th at 2:00. Click here to sign up.


During the call we discussed:

  • The different approaches for going solar. These range from include purchasing a small demonstration project to financing a larger rooftop system. This page gives a good overview of the different models/approaches for taking your school solar. A good overview of PPAs is also available here.
  • That it’s important to solicit bids for a project early in the process so you can get a good sense of the cost of solar in your market. Here is an overview of how to solicit a bid from an installer.

We also covered questions and had folks share about ongoing projects. Some of the highlights include:

  • We heard from a group in TX that is helping a school install a small demonstration system that will have online monitoring, so students can interact with the system as part of their science curriculum.
  • We heard about a project in PA that is using a community-owned power purchase agreement to finance a project. A group of alumni are providing the capital to finance the project and will earn a return on their investment.
  • Someone from TX was interested in financing a project via a PPA and asked how they could find whether PPAs are allowed in their state. We recommend checking out’s PPA map. A good overview of PPAs is available here.

Next steps

In preparation for the next call on May 20th, please:

  • Form an organization committee and recruit 2 to 5 people who can help you take your school solar. It’s good to include school administrators, teachers, parents, community members, and students, so you have a solid group of supporters for the project. Read here on why building a organizing committee is important.
  • Solicit 1 to 3 bids from local installers. Getting a bid early in the process will help you (1) ensure your school is a good fit for solar, and (2) help you identify your options for purchasing or financing a solar system. Ask your installer to provide a purchase AND Power Purchase Agreement option whenever possible. Here is an overview of how to solicit a bid from an installer. Once you’ve received your bid, send it to so we can help you review your options.