AUSTIN, Texas - The U.S. Department of Energy awarded Austin ISD a $15 million grant for solar panels to be installed in 16 campuses.
Austin ISD is the only school district in the state to receive this grant.
"So renewable energy helps you save money in the long run. It decreases our energy costs. So, utility costs are the second-highest expense behind salaries. And lowering our operating expenses for energy means increased financial stability for the school district," said Darien Clary, Austin ISD sustainability director.
The U.S. Department of Energy awarded Austin ISD a $15 million grant for solar panels to be installed in 16 campuses. Austin ISD is the only school district in the state to receive this grant.
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How will this benefit the Austin community?
"This program supports the city of Austin's goal of equitably reaching net-zero community wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2040," said Clary.
Darien Clary, the district’s sustainability director, says Austin residents don’t have to worry about this affecting the tax rate.
"This funding really makes it possible for school districts like AISD to do large scale projects like this without costing the taxpayer. So we're required to have a 5% match, which we have through existing sources," said Clary.
AISD currently has solar energy at 14 locations. Those panels are able to produce 2 megawatts of energy, which is enough to power about 230 homes.
"The EPA had reported that AISD schools produced more solar power than all other Texas schools combined," said Clary.
This is a 5-year project. Once negotiations with the Department of Energy are complete, the district can expect to see the first round of rooftop solar panels up and running in late 2025.
The district says the panels will be place in underserved Austin populations.
"Given how big we are and how many facilities we have and of course how much power we consume, even more so as an educator. So, sustainability and education go hand in hand. They are both about the future," said Clary.