Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., has introduced the Solar Schools Act, which is intended to make it more affordable for schools to install solar power systems.
‘School buildings are used most heavily during the day, during the same hours that solar energy generation is highest,’ Giffords notes. ‘Making it more cost-effective for schools to install solar-generating systems will lessen our dependence on foreign oil and save money for cash-strapped schools.’
Currently, government institutions, such as school districts, can develop solar energy through an agreement with a solar installer that maintains ownership of the panels and can claim an investment tax credit, or by financing the purchase of the solar system through tax-exempt bonds.
If school districts were able to combine both approaches, financing a solar installation through tax-exempt bonds and claiming the investment tax credit, it would make renewable energy much more affordable, according to Giffords' office.
The Solar Schools Act would allow schools to use proceeds from tax-exempt bonds to enter into pre-paid contracts for renewable energy. Publicly owned utilities already are granted such an exemption to enter into similar contracting agreements. The act would extend that exemption to local government entities.
SOURCE: Office Of Gabrielle Giffords