According to Governor Cuomo’s press release:
“Individuals and businesses will be able to receive a total of $20 million in tax credits for up to 75 percent of their donations made to public schools and not-for-profits that support public schools’ educational programs”.
This is wonderful news because educational programs now include sustainable energy. A rapidly growing and vibrant STEM education program that has existing curriculum which was written by teachers and aligned with current standards. In fact, the NY Power Authority has provided your school permission to explore energy education:
“School districts, administrators, and teachers are able to justify spending instructional time devoted to energy education”
NY Power Authority
Below is an ad from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
NYC is way ahead of the rest of the state…
Courses such as Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Engineering, and Computer Programing and Software can all utilize an onsite solar energy system safely for classroom education. NYC Department of Education
Not sure what all of this means?
The education tax credit could give your school the ability to accept donations to support renewable energy education in the same fashion that a school could accept donations to support sports.
Allowable donations towards projects could be:
- LED lighting
- Solar heating
- Electricity generation
That means your donation can provide a hands-on learning style in sustainable STEM programs that provide the extra benefit of reducing your school’s utility expense. Those savings can be used to expand other programs like music, art and sports. Your tiny $30 donation can have a major educational, financial and environmental multiplier effect for decades.
How to use the educational tax credit donations to fund programs for renewable energy educational programs to maximize community benefits.
If this bill passes into law, your community can pool together tiny donations or large donations for big STEM projects. On the internet, they call it “crowd funding” and it can have a profound effect with immediate results.
For example, what would happen if 1,000 parents kicked in $30 each and raised $30,000 to directly target the energy consumption of your local school with green technology? This is what they should expect –
- Instant and significant local budget savings for decades
- Real high paying local jobs would be saved or created
- Hands on, real world STEM curriculum for the children
- Environmentally aware students with marketable knowledge
- Less carbon emissions for all
- More money available for programs like arts, music and sports.
- A NYS tax write-off of 75% of the donation
Without the education tax credit bill passing in Albany (as it is currently proposed), none of that can be achieved with the current the bureaucratic process and budgetary constraints in place.
Green Tech is cheap.
Below are a few Green technologies that make perfect sense when crowd funding is used to purchase materials by the case or pallet.
- LED Bulbs- use 17% of the electricity of normal bulbs and last over 10 years. A $30 donation towards a 3 pak of 100 watt (equiv.) commercial LED bulbs can result in a school saving almost $1600 in electricity costs over the next decade.
- Motion Detection Switches – This incredible technology turns off lights when there is no motion in a room. National studies say that 60% of lighting costs can be cut with these devices. Retail prices range from $19-$130 depending on the technology and room requirements.
- Solar Panels – If you own them already then you know their savings. A crowd funded donation of $30,000 can purchase a 25kw kit off the internet. That’s enough to power for several small homes or a small business. These systems are expandable and many arrive with monitoring software for study. Learn More
- Solar Hot Water – This technology heats water and will dramatically affect fuel needs. Retail costs range from $900-$1800 per unit. Crowd funding $30,000 worth of these might be too much hot water for some projects. Learn More
- Solar Hot Air – Schools that have a sunny wall could offset the heat cost of a large gym or garage with proper planning. These items can be made in a school metal shop or purchased online for under $1000 each.
- Modern Microhydro doesn’t require a massive dam or environmental destruction. A $30,000 (50-100 KW) small hydro turbine can power 20 homes or a decent sized school indefinitely using a stream. Pay attention Hudson Valley, Catskill and Adirondack regions, you have plenty of viable streams with no migrating fish to worry about. To be sure there will be permits needed. Learn More
Additional construction costs? Does almost FREE sound good?
The power companies have a variety of incentive programs. Some programs offer free fixture replacements while others have rebates. Districts who pick the right projects could wind up saving money and receiving a rebate check back.
Insanity? It gets better…. NYSERDA subsidizes sustainable energy projects. In some cases they paid over 70% of the cost for local government renewable energy projects. There could be instances where crowd funding the equipment with subsidies will knock down the overall cost to petty cash or better. There may be federal incentives/rebates to consider. Learn more
Don’t forget your Smart Schools Bond money…
There is $2 billion now available to support technology. A savy school administrator or board might be able to combine proposed usages with a localized STEM educational energy project and see them both come to life with the help of crowd funded community donations… only if the bill becomes law.
The Education Tax Credit hasn’t passed.
This bill is not law and the proposals keep changing. So far the key provision of supporting local public schools through charitable donations has survived several versions. If Governor Cuomo’s proposal survives a vote, your community should have the ability to turn the local school into an engine of local prosperity, provide clean air and high tech education… for next to nothing.
If the bill passes, it could all start with a tiny or a large donation from you and individuals in your community. Talk to your neighbors about it or Facebook this page to your friends.