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SolarCity Deploys Solar Education Systems in California

SolarCity has joined with Pacific Gas and Electric Company's "Solar Schools Program" and the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) in agreeing to install more than 70 1-kilowatt solar learning towers this year that will catalyze solar power interest and education around the state.

Today, SolarCity announces its first installations at the Oakland Zoo's Maddie's Center for Science and Environmental Education and at the Pescadero Elementary School in Pescadero, Ca. The 10'x10' solar systems are intended to become monuments to solar power and rallying points for resource conservation and education in the community. Zoo visitors and students will soon be able to compare the power generated from these learning towers to over 60 similar 1kW PG&E Solar Schools Program projects around California, while learning core facts about solar energy on adjoining information kiosks.

"In providing these grants, equipment and curricula, we hope to help educate students on the benefits of clean, renewable energy sources like solar power, and inspire them to become the solar inventors and scientists of tomorrow," said Ophelia Basgal, Pacific Gas and Electric Company vice president of civic partnerships and community initiatives. "PG&E's Solar Schools Program brings together our commitment to renewable energy, energy efficiency and education in a way that will benefit students, schools, and the community for years to come."

"Conservation and a greener footprint are two important concerns for us," said Dr. Joel Parrot, Executive Director of the Oakland Zoo. "With the work of SolarCity, FEE and the PG&E Solar Schools Program, we can help address these important sustainability issues while providing a central location for bringing clean energy awareness to our visitors," he said.

The program is funded charitably by PG&E, in partnership with two nonprofit implementation partners: the National Energy Education Development Project, which assists in developing a solar curriculum and educational materials, and the Foundation for Environmental Education, which helps coordinate system installations.

For 2007, PG&E committed $2.5 million towards expanding the Solar Schools program. The program involves installation of photovoltaic systems in over 40 additional schools, a solar based curriculum training package, workshops for teachers in addition to funding "Bright Ideas" which supports innovative solar science projects in classrooms. Each photovoltaic system generates just over 1 kilowatt, or enough to provide for the power needs of lighting a classroom. Since its inception in 2004, PG&E's Solar Schools program has trained over 400 teachers and benefited over 60 schools throughout California.

"Teaching the importance of clean, sustainable energy solutions is a social responsibility, and one of the most important lessons we can impart on future leaders," said SolarCity's Chief Executive, Lyndon Rive. "We are proud to have lent assistance to the Oakland Zoo for their solar project, and we are excited to continue working with Solar Schools Program and bringing opportunities for solar education to students in more than 70 schools across the region," he said.

SolarCity will remotely service and monitor the solar systems via the Internet with SolarGuard, its proprietary monitoring system, while providing learning centers a special Web portal allowing visitors an opportunity to monitor and compare solar electricity production throughout the state in real time.

"By offering a technology that can interconnect and analyze school systems over the Internet, we will be able to offer additional learning opportunities emphasizing the importance of sustainable energy," said Glen Kizer, President of the Foundation for Environmental Education. "We intend to connect our projects in California with others around the country and world."

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