Our Schools

California's public school districts spend a significant amount of their General Fund dollars on utility costs. One large Bay Area school district spends approximately $4.6 million annually (electricity - $3.5 million, natural gas - $300,000, water - $800,000).

Your school district has undoubtedly thought about how it can reduce its consumption of electricity, natural gas, and water. Doing so is not only good for the planet, but it also helps the district reduce the cost of operating its schools. By reducing utility costs, school districts are able to make a greater investment in the education and well-being of our children.

Your school district may have also considered installing solar panels on school roofs and parking lots, but has not moved forward because of a lack of knowledge, uncertainty about the cost, and uncertainty about whether solar panels would provide any real economic benefit to the school district. These are all valid concerns that we can help your school district address so that it can determine if installing renewable energy systems makes sense and whether solar will provide meaningful economic, environmental, and educational benefits. 

The HELiOS Project assists California's public school districts who wish to assess the potential for installing renewable energy systems that eliminate their electricity costs. Our assessment (Solar Master Plan) uses actual electricity cost and consumption from each school in the district to model the PV system size needed at each site to reduce the electricity bill to ~ $0. With that information on PV system size, we can estimate:

  • the installed cost of the PV systems
  • the overall savings (annual and over 25 years)
  • how much electricity will be generated
  • how different financing options affect the economics
  • how much greenhouse gas emissions are eliminated
  • how much water is saved by producing electricity from solar panels


As part of that assessment, we can also set up an ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account-a free energy management tool to help the district monitor its energy and water consumption.

 Additionally, we will consult with district staff on all aspects of the solar procurement process.

We provide these services to any California public school district without cost.*

You can view an example of a Solar Master Plan here.

You can also view all the elements of a school district solar project in the Solar Master Plan developed for Oakland USD with the support of the US Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory here

And, we welcome inquiries from students, teachers, parents, and anyone else interested in seeing their school or school district go solar!

Please visit our HELiOS Project website for more information on our approach to developing a project, as well as the no-cost services we provide.


*Support for our work in the San Francisco Bay Area is provided by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD).

Hall District Elementary students enjoying their new solar panels!