Halfway To Crowdfunding Success For NRDC Solar Schools Initiative: Los Angeles, Philadelphia And Charlotte Lead Voting For Pilot Program

Nov 07, 2013, 16:07 ET from Natural Resources Defense Council

Just 8 Days Left to Show Support: NRDC Campaign Aims to Pave the Way for Solar Power for Every School in the U.S. That Wants It

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) campaign to bring solar power to more of America's school is nearly half way to its crowdfunding target and three cities – Los Angles, Philadelphia and Charlotte, N.C. – have attracted the most online support as possible pilot locations.

In a first-of-its kind melding of education, energy and environmentalism, the Natural Resources Defense Council launched on October 21, 2013 a crowdfunding campaign at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-schools-powering-classrooms-empowering-communities supporting a new initiative to help schools advance solar development projects that can provide clean, renewable energy.

The crowdfunding campaign – a first for NRDC – is now roughly halfway to its goal of raising $54,000 through the Indiegogo online platform to help at least three to-be-determined schools move forward with solar projects. A built-in component of the campaign is to allow contributors the ability to vote on the city of their choice for the pilot projects. Charlotte, Philly and LA are leading that voting right now.

As part of the campaign, NRDC also is developing an online platform that local schools can use to navigate the sometimes confusing pathway to obtain solar power. The site will detail state and local rules regarding solar power installations across America, and connect schools and communities with organizations and experts that can support them each step of the way.

"Our ultimate goal is help every school that wants solar power to get it," said NRDC renewable energy policy director Nathanael Greene.

"Once we reach our fundraising goal for Solar Schools, we'll select the top three vote-getting schools, not just to utilize NRDC's new online organizing/expertise platform, but also to receive in-person training from our experts, and ongoing support and mentoring during the organizing process," he said.

The benefits to local schools and students can be substantial. In California, for instance, the Firebaugh-Las Deltas United School District was able to reinstate a music program for 2,300 students after installing solar on its schools, thanks to an estimated $900,000 in energy cost savings. Students also get a first-hand look at how solar energy works, and a real life lesson on why science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is important.

"Numerous organizations and programs – many through utilities – are putting solar panels on schools," said Jay Orfield, environmental innovation fellow in NRDC's Center for Market Innovation.

"What's different about our program is that it aims to make solar an option for any school, anywhere, by beginning with local school administrators, parents, teachers, students and communities and giving them the tools to they need to make solar power a reality," he said.

NRDC is partnering with several other organizations on the campaign, including The Solar Foundation, Community Power Network, Bonneville Environmental Foundation (Solar 4R Schools) and Three Birds Foundation.

For a straight-from-students video about NRDC's "Solar Schools: Power Classrooms, Empowering Communities" campaign – and to contribute – go here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-schools-powering-classrooms-empowering-communities

For Nathanael Greene's blog detailing the campaign, see: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ngreene/nrdc_launches_solar_schools.html

SOURCE Natural Resources Defense Council