The California State & Consumer Services Agency recently released the first draft of a step-by-step guide to help California schools and community colleges cut energy costs through on-site electricity generation and become "grid neutral." The guide is entitled "Grid Neutral: Electrical Independence for California Schools and Community Colleges," and can be viewed here. In fact, the state’s Department of General Services is seeking comments regarding the content of the guide, which can be emailed to this address: Theresa.Townsend@dgs.ca.gov.
The goal of creating grid neutral schools is to construct facilities that generate at least as much power as they consume. This requires a series of steps, including: 1) measuring existing electricity use and setting performance goals; 2) implementing energy efficiency and conservations measures to lower electricity use; 3) installing solar or wind systems to create electricity to meet remaining needs; and 4) monitoring electricity consumption and production. The solar or wind systems can be installed by private third parties pursuant to a power purchase agreement, which conveys tax benefits on the private party while providing the school with access to power at consistent rates which are potentially below market. For more information, see the State and Consumer Services Agency’s press release and this excerpt from the guide.