In response to today’s solar school hearing, PennEnvironment Campaign Organizer Zoë Cina-Sklar released the following statement:
PennEnvironment applauds Chairwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, Councilman Derek Green and the City Council Environment Committee for holding a hearing to expand upon the PennEnvironment Research and Policy report Solar Schools for Philadelphia: Clean Air, Green Jobs, and Financial Savings.
Today, we were excited to join a broad coalition of solar industry representatives, environmental advocates, union leaders, public health experts and councilmembers to discuss the path forward for installing solar panels on Philadelphia public schools.
Solar schools are a triple win for Philadelphia: they save money, provide local jobs and foster a healthy environment.
Solar rooftops on Philadelphia schools would cut carbon pollution by 62,000 metric tons annually—the equivalent of taking 13,700 cars off the road—and help to decrease the generation of asthma-linked smog.
Our research shows that rooftop solar could cover 37% of the School District of Philadelphia’s electricity needs. This would in turn cut the District’s utility bills by $13 million over the project’s lifetime, and create 750 one-year local jobs.
What’s more is that there are various financing models, including power purchase agreements, which would allow the school district to pursue this project without additional upfront costs.
In short, now is a perfect moment to move forward to make Philadelphia’s public schools a leader in clean, affordable solar energy.
Speakers at the event included:
• Saleem Chapman, Sustainable Business Network Policy & Advocacy Manager
• Zoë Cina-Sklar, PennEnvironment Campaign Organizer
• Micah Gold-Markel, founder of Solar States
• Cristine Knapp, Director of Philadelphia Office of Sustainability
• Jim Kurtz, RER Energy Group
• Hillary Linardopoulos, Philadelphia Teachers Federation
• Mike O'Neill, IBEW Local 98, Director of Training
• Walter Tsou, President of Physicians for Social Responsibility
• Matt Walker, Clean Air Council Community Outreach Coordinator
We look forward to continued collaboration with these partners and with the School District of Philadelphia to install solar on schools across the city.