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PG&E Awards $200,000 in 2006 'Solar Schools Bright Ideas' Grants

Pacific Gas and Electric Company today announced that it has awarded $200,000 in Bright Ideas grants to 39 underserved schools in northern and central California for their innovative solar science projects in 2006. The Bright Ideas program is part of PG&E's Solar Schools education program, which awarded $1.7 million throughout the year.

"In providing Bright Ideas grants to fund innovative solar science programs, we hope to teach tomorrow's leaders about solar power and the environmental benefits of renewable energy," said Ophelia Basgal, Pacific Gas and Electric Company vice president of civic partnerships and community initiatives. "This goal would not be possible without the unwavering dedication of the program's teachers, who have found creative ways to convey the importance of renewable energy to their students."

PG&E's Bright Ideas initiative provides grants of $2,500 and $5,000 to underserved schools in PG&E's service area for innovative solar science projects. The grants can be applied to classroom, after school, and summer projects that incorporate solar power science curriculum. PG&E works directly with the National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) to administer the grants and curriculum training. Since 2004, the program has provided over $335,000 in grants to schools in central and northern California. The complete list of 2006 grant winners can be found below.

"PG&E's Bright Ideas grants program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for students in underserved schools to learn about the science of solar power," said Mary Spruill, NEED's program director. "Working directly with teachers to develop original curriculum, the program focuses on core academic standards while training future scientists, policy makers, and business leaders about an exciting and important subject matter."

PG&E's Bright Ideas grants program is part of the company's award-winning Solar Schools program. The largest program of its kind, PG&E's shareholder funded voluntary Solar Schools Program provides participating schools in underserved communities throughout northern and central California with a free 1.3 kilowatt solar energy installation and grade-specific curriculum materials designed to help each participating school meet the California Department of Education's standards for science, social studies, and English. Since its inception in 2004, the program has also provided specialized solar science curriculum seminars to 1,000 teachers, benefiting nearly 59,000 students throughout PG&E's service area.

PG&E's Solar Schools Program has earned state and national recognition in 2006 for its education initiative. In December, the company won the California Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards, California's highest and most prestigious environmental honor. The company also won the 2006 Interstate Renewable Energy Council Annual Innovation award in October and in July was named the Education Innovator of the Year" by the San Francisco Business Times.

PG&E's Solar Schools program is part of the company's broader commitment to renewable energy. PG&E is a national leader in supplying its customers with clean renewable energy. More than fifty percent of the energy it provides comes from emission-free sources such as solar, hydroelectric, wind, geothermal, biomass and waste. As an industry leader in solar power integration, the company has interconnected 14,000 solar customers -- more than any other utility in the country. PG&E has also provided more than $163 million in rebates to solar customers through its self-generation incentive program.

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