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Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

Denver’s school solar grant program prioritizes equity over climate impact | Colorado

By meerna Jun12,2024

(The Center Square) – The city of Denver is looking to install $2.6 million in outdoor solar canopies, with the grant application process focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion.

The evaluation criteria approving the project weighs “community and equity impact” twice as much as “greenhouse gas reduction rating.” The application process can earn a total of 100 points, with the highest 30 points awarded for community impact and equity and 15 points for greenhouse gas reduction assessment.

The city’s website states: “Please list all women and minority-owned businesses on your team…We encourage the use of small, minority-owned and women-owned businesses on your project team. We hope you will consider hiring independent contractors when needed who identify as:

  • People of color
  • Native inhabitants
  • LGBTQ+
  • People with disabilities
  • People whose household income is below the area median”

The agreement with Denver Public Schools and the city was discussed at the June 5 meeting of the Business, Arts, Workforce, Climate and Air Services Committee meeting.

The contract to install 110.4 kW outdoor solar canopies will cover 11 schools in the Denver Public School District and is part of Denver’s Outdoor Learning Incentive Program, documents show.

The agreement is valid from June 15, 2024 to June 15, 2026.

The Solar Outdoor Learning Incentive program could eventually finance 100% of these projects under the Climate Protection Fund, in line with the city’s plan website.

The school must be located in urban or rural Denver, the project sites must be outdoors, the project must “advance the goals of equity, racial and social justice,” and it must be able to complete the project within 24 months. According to the city’s website, the school must also provide evidence of professional input and expertise, provide a budget and data on how to avoid greenhouse gas emissions, and have a learning plan in which students will teach children, among other things: about climate and solar energy.

In November 2020, the Climate Protection Fund was voted on, resulting in a 0.25% increase in the local sales and use tax. The program is part of the city’s goal to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030 and provides $40 million for climate action each year.

The city of Denver confirmed receipt of an email requesting comment but did not respond.

By meerna

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