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Trustees debate usage of bond funds

Original post made on Oct 29, 2009

Members of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education last week examined the needs of the district in terms of how to spend a new bond that will bring millions of construction dollars into district coffers.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 4:36 PM

Comments (11)

Posted by Bob
a resident of Danville
on Oct 29, 2009 at 8:53 am

Well, here we go again. So, a pile of money is available at low interest rates so we need to go get it and decide what to do with it. Hello?
Shouldn’t the approach be that funding follows the budget which is driven by the strategy? The approach being discussed here is the classic: ‘Ready, Fire, Aim”.
But hasn’t the budgeting process (not to mention lack of accountability to the taxpayers) been that way over the past years? “Why change now” might be the standard with the new schools administration.
As to my opinion whether solar use is cost-effective, I haven’t seen any positive projections other than the ones from the salesmen … but that’s not the key issue here … it’s effective management of taxpayer funds.

Posted by Tom Kelly
a resident of another community
on Oct 29, 2009 at 1:27 pm

SRVUSD has a great opportunity to offset its rising electricity costs by using the QSCBs to install solar. The cost for solar has been dropping significantly over the past year due in part to the faltering economy and to the saturation of panels in the market.

The financing provided by the near 0% interest QSCBs will provide the district with a positive revenue stream for the full term of the bonds (15 years). At the end of the term, all the electricity provided by the panels will make a significant dent in the district's expenses, thus reducing pressure on its general fund. It's a great deal that can be supported by the conservative assumptions made about future electricity costs and electricty generation. The benefits (which also include the district's reduction in greenhouse gas emissions) are extraordinary and should not be passed up.

Posted by Lisa Mason
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 30, 2009 at 6:26 am

This is a wonderful opportunity to provide the benefits of solar to our school district. With these low cost bonds and other rebates available for solar, the district may actually end up saving a substantial amount of money on energy costs. It truly seems like a “no-brainer” to reap all of the benefits of solar while also generating more money for school programs, especially in light of our current budget woes.

The application for these low interest rate bonds came about thanks to the advocacy of a group of SRVUSD students, mentored by their teachers, administrators, parents, and other concerned members of our community. We applaud the school board for doing their due diligence to make sure that the numbers do work out, but we hope that they are not overly cautious—it would be a shame to miss out on this opportunity.

Posted by N. F.
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 30, 2009 at 10:53 am

I think going solar is a great idea especially in light of increasing electric costs. I for one would fully and proudly support this initiative.

Posted by S.E.
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 30, 2009 at 8:36 pm

What a great idea to put solar panels up on the schools. It makes great financial sense for the schools, it reduces our dependence on foreign oil, and it is good for the planet. I also have heard that a lot of the parking lots will get shade structures. That will be awesome. All the kids I have spoken with are for it. I can't wait to see the panels go up.

Posted by Susan
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 31, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Going Solar is a great idea. It saves money and reduces our carbon footprint. I believe that Milpitas and San Diego school districts have gone solar at every school. It's nice to see San Ramon catching up.

Posted by Doug M.
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 1, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Almost 2 years ago, the Contra Costa Community College District decided that investing $35.2 million in solar energy was a good idea. Rebates and incentives brought the cost down to $26.7 million. They now have a 3.2-megawatt solar power generation system comprising photovoltaic panels mounted on 34 parking canopies in six parking lots at Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College and Los Medanos College. The project is anticipated to save $70 million over the next 25 years, ($2.8 million saved per year.) The cost of the system will be recovered over time by the annual cost savings achieved as a result of the new systems.

Benefits of that system include:
Reduced grid power purchases of 7.4 million kilowatt-hours per year, enough to power about 1,200 homes;
Shaded daytime parking and improved parking lot lighting at night;
Solar information kiosks that provide real-time data on the production, conversion and electricity output at each campus
Better operations through energy management system controls and real-time monitoring of energy production and consumption.

With $25 million in near zero interest Qualified School Construction Bonds available, the SRVUSD is looking at a very similar sized project. Right now, the market is even better than it was two years ago for purchasing PV solar panels. There is a worldwide glut of panels and solar panel vendors are hungry for customers. The PG&E rebates and state and federal tax credits are very generous. What was a good idea 2 years ago is a great idea today.

Investing in solar energy is the prudent choice. It will show leadership, it will free up funds for other important projects and needs, and it will reduce the fossil fuel consumption and CO2 output of the SRVUSD. It is a necessary step for any school district even considering moving up to world class status.

Posted by Darlene Gayler
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 2, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Please let the solar experts speak, instead of making decisions based on little information or inaccurate statements. Solar is a great opportunity for the schools and for our enviroment!

Posted by Cheryl M.
a resident of Danville
on Nov 2, 2009 at 5:10 pm

I agree with Lisa, Doug M., Tom, et al--we have an opportunity to invest in a solar energy system that promises to reduce expenses, take advantage of rebates, credits, and allows money be put back in to the general fund for use elsewhere, and we need to make sure that the SRVUSD is taking a good hard look at it. At a time when the SRVUSD and superindendent are looking to reduce expenses and move toward being a more futuristic force in education, it would seem to me that an eco-friendly solution proposed by the students, and for benefit of all the students should be very seriously considered.

Posted by Hal, CDSI
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2009 at 5:13 pm

Dear Dolores,

Please ask Terry Koehne if the subject of solar and various government-sponsored incentives would be of interest to SRVUSD. CDSI members and their principals are producers of Solar PV and arrays for commercial installation as power generation and hot water (including radiant heating) systems.

I would be happy to create the links for the EXPRESS in support of SRVUSD.

Harald A. Bailey
Technology & Markets Development
CIRCA Development Services (CIRCA/ds)
Member, CDSI Research Fellowship
[email protected]

Posted by Frank
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 4, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Solar should pay for itself in less than 10 years assuming historical increases in energy costs. Plus, it's the right thing to do in terms of supporting green energies.

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