In response to recent electricity interruptions from public service power shutdown outages resulting from wildfires and other natural disasters in Northern California, a coalition of clean energy organizations launched the Resilient Schools Collaborative (RSC) with the mission of developing power-resilient schools through islanded microgrids using solar panels paired with onsite battery storage. The coalition includes ARC Alternatives, Center for Resource Solutions (CRS), and KyotoUSA, with funding from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD). Initially, RSC will partner with Oakland Unified School District and San Rafael City Schools to assist in supporting the technical and financial feasibility studies, with results being shared across Bay Area school districts.
“Over the last few years, power outages due to high winds and wildfires in Northern California have become the norm,” said Orrin Cook, CRS’s director of international programs. “Providing a clean energy option for schools to stay open and self-sufficient during outages does more than just keep kids in school, it also helps reduce disruptions on families and improves air quality. We think it will prove to be a useful model for schools nationwide in areas that are vulnerable to service disruptions.”
In the first phase, RSC will identify and share the technical and financial feasibility of using a combination of solar power, battery storage, and microgrids to make school districts power resilient and emissions-free during public service power shutdown and other emergency events. Without a clear alternative to diesel and fossil-fuel based generators, power shutdowns will lead to significant local air and noise pollution on student campuses across the Bay Area. By keeping schools at least partially open during shutdowns, RSC will also help districts that rely on attendance to maintain their funding. Providing a clean-power solution to power shutdown events will help reduce stressful disruptions to children, families, and the Bay Area workforce, as well as improve air quality and health outcomes for all communities. RSC will also investigate additional funding opportunities to help school districts offset the costs associated with this type of project.
“Without a clear alternative to diesel and fossil-fuel based generators, power shutdowns will lead to significant local air pollution on student campuses across the Bay Area,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of BAAQMD. “The Air District is actively looking to support clean energy solutions, such as local microgrids, and is excited to work with the Resilient Schools Collaborative.”
“San Rafael City Schools is very appreciative of having the opportunity to partner and participate in this grant program with our goal being to explore avenues to keep public schools open in a safe environment benefiting students, families, and the community during a power shut down,” said Senior Director of Capital Facilities Programs, Dr. Dan Zaich.
“While a solar plus battery storage project may not fully power a school,” said Tom Kelly, executive director of KyotoUSA, “enough power could potentially be generated during times of power outage to support essential functions, allowing some classroom instruction to continue.”
About the Resilient Schools Collaborative (RSC)
The Resilient Schools Collaborative (RSC) is a conceptual initiative of ARC Alternatives, Center for Resource Solutions (CRS), and KyotoUSA, with the mission of introducing new and innovative revenue streams to assist public school districts in the installation of solar energy, battery storage capacity, and microgrids to add resiliency during power outages and other emergency events. Learn more and sign up for updates at resilientschools.org. If you are interested in working with RSC or for additional information, contact email@example.com.
About Center for Resource Solutions
Center for Resource Solutions‘s (CRS’s) leadership through collaboration and environmental innovation builds policies and consumer-protection mechanisms in renewable energy, greenhouse gas reductions, and energy efficiency that foster healthy and sustained market growth. CRS runs the Green-e® certification program, which is the leading independent consumer protection program for the sale of renewable energy and greenhouse gas reductions in the retail market. Green-e provides forward-thinking organizations a simple, internationally recognized logo they can use to communicate their renewable energy and climate commitment to their customers and stakeholders.