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PSE Invites Schools to Apply for Solar-Power Installation

As part of Puget Sound Energy's ongoing efforts to advance renewable energy generation, the utility last Friday, February 1, 2008, issued a request for proposals (RFP) to provide up to five schools in PSE's service area each a 1 kilowatt to 5 kilowatt photovoltaic solar system.

Aimed at increasing visibility of renewable energy generating technology and demand for renewable energy resources, the systems will be awarded to schools this year that can successfully implement educational programs to students as well as offer educational outreach to the surrounding communities.

"The solar demonstration projects are geared to give our schools and the surrounding communities the ability to learn more about the viability of solar generation here in the Pacific Northwest," said Kimberly Harris, executive vice president and corporate resource officer at PSE. "They also aim to instill greater understanding about the practical uses of renewable energy for future generations of energy users. Our hope, above all, is that we'll look back several years from now and say that these projects helped propel the demand for renewable energy in the Pacific Northwest, particularly through customer-owned solar generation."

The solar systems serve as both a visual and interactive tool by introducing students to renewable energy technology and providing a hands-on opportunity to explore global energy issues. The installation includes a Web-based data monitoring system, enabling students to monitor real-time system performance and to download historical data, and an interactive touch-screen kiosk, centrally located in the school, to display real-time data about the amount of electricity generated by the school's solar array.

Since 2004, PSE working through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation has funded the installation of five solar systems at local schools and institutions including Redmond High School, Washington Middle School in Olympia, and the Institute for Environmental Research and Education in Vashon. Two more, one at Port Townsend High School and another at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, are nearing completion.

Beginning in 2008, the cost of PSE's Solar Schools Program will be covered by a small, usage-based charge already on the monthly bills of all PSE customers.

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