The Carbon-Free School Initiative will save taxpayers money, create thousands of jobs for Illinois workers, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, improve academic performance, and promote public health.

This can be achieved by installing 4 gigawatts of solar power by 2030, dedicating new renewable energy credits (RECs) for solar power generated by public school districts and requiring utility companies to buy a sufficient percentage of the RECs, creating a low-interest loan fund to support financing, leveraging federal tax incentives, and pairing solar projects with energy efficiency initiatives. The program would require $10 billion ($2.50 per watt) (NREL, 2018).

The Illinois Power Agency’s (IPA) Adjustable Block Program would be amended to increase the value of RECs if they are generated by public school districts and other entities with high social impact (e.g., colleges and universities, public buildings, and hospitals).

The initiative would prioritize Tier 1 and Tier 2 schools first, based on a State feasibility audit on solar and energy efficiency for every district in Illinois. Background and Details Public school districts currently account for 12% of total energy consumption in Il.

 

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