NRDC: "Ultimate goal is help every school that wants solar power to get it"; Opening up fundraising process to the public: Backers can "vote" for local school to be in pilot.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 21, 2013) – In a first-of-its kind melding of

education, energy and environmentalism, the Natural Resources Defense
Council has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support a new initiative to
help schools purchase and install rooftop solar systems that can provide
clean, renewable energy.

The crowdfunding campaign – a first for NRDC – initially seeks to raise
$54,000 through the crowdfunding site Indiegogo to help three to five
to-be-determined schools move forward with solar rooftop projects. At least
one of the locations will be selected by contributors to the campaign, who
can vote on the city of their choice.

For a straight-from-students video about NRDC's "Solar Schools: Power
Classrooms, Empowering Communities" campaign – and to contribute – see here:

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.

"If we can hold fundraisers for field trips and sports teams, we can do the
same to get our schools on solar. Switching to clean, renewable solar energy
helps the environment and the health of our local communities, but also
helps schools to cut energy expenses and funnel the savings to other
programs," 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 – mainly 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 more on the "Solar Schools: Powering Classrooms, Empowering Communities"
program, see

For Nathanael Greene's blog detailing the campaign, see:

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