Support a CUSD Solar Program

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Climate change is an important issue affecting our world today. Major hurricanes are becoming a seemingly common occurrence, ice caps are melting rapidly, coral reefs are bleaching, and asthma is becoming ever more common, due to the fouling of our air. The Cupertino Union School District, as well as citizens, must show leadership by supporting a bond measure to fund a solar program. If the Board of Educators put a bond question on the ballot and the citizens approve, then the District will sell bonds to investors. The bonds will be paid back with interest using a small increase in property taxes.

Solar panels would drastically cut down on the District’s energy bill. This is because PG&E uses an energy system known as “net metering.” Net metering happens when excess electricity is produced through solar or when energy is consumed due to a shortage of solar energy. When solar production is lower than consumption, then PG&E will cover the remainder and the District must pay for that electricity. However, when solar production is greater than consumption, then the excess electricity goes to PG&E, and PG&E pays the District for the energy they receive. The final bill then becomes a result of the District using and creating electricity, effectively running the meter both ways. For example, on “Summer weekdays, when school is not in session, the meter will be running backward when electricity is very expensive.” (FUHSD Solar Initiative, 2009). This is because the extra electricity generated by the solar panels is pushed back to PG&E at a high cost. Successfully installing solar panels has saved the Fremont Union High School District up to 67-68% of their energy bill. This translated to over a million dollars saved per year that the FUHSD used in more productive areas. And these important savings are necessary, as the District faces a large debt, and the costs of electricity are rising. According to the CUSD 2017-2018 Adoption Budget Financial Report, the District is projected to spend about $4.6 million in electricity; a nearly $700,000 increase from the last year. Taking from the example of the Fremont Union High School District, the costs were $33 million on solar, $5 to $7 million per school. If CUSD were to implement solar, then the bond size would be roughly $125 million, or $5 million per school. This is a larger cost than what FUHSD incurred, but the gains would also increase proportionately.

A plan like this resonates with residents who would like to see school ratings go up with extra funding, as well as having an increase in property values due to better schools.

Therefore, we call upon the Cupertino Union School District to to place a bond measure on the ballot for citizens to vote on. For the benefit of our planet and our education, we must act now; proving to ourselves and everyone else that we CAN make a difference. Indifference is not an option.

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