Everything You Need to Know about Prop 39 as It Relates to LED Lights

What is Prop 39?

California’s Proposition 39, otherwise known as “The California Clean Energy Jobs Act,” re-routes income tax to a general fund (for 5 years starting in 2013) that earmarks about $550 million/year for eligible projects that improve energy efficiency in schools.

Eligible schools request funding by submitting an energy expenditure plan application to the California Energy Commission, which approves plans and works with the CA DOE to distribute funds. The Energy Commission will help you through the process, and we are more than happy to accelerate the process by helping you work on your energy expenditure submission plan as there is limited time to receive Prop 39 appropriated funds for your school/local educational agency (LEA).

So what do LED lights have to do with Prop 39?

Prop 39 is all about increasing energy efficiency in schools. LED lights are one of the quickest ways to achieve this, as they have one of the shortest payback periods for the funds that Prop 39 deploys to schools.  They make a point of this on page 23 of their FAQ here. Specifically, under the lowest payback periods mentioned in their documentation, the best category contains all lighting (with 2 out of the 3 being LEDs).

Lighting projects with approximately two-year payback:

  1. Replace incandescent light with compact fluorescent or LED lights.
  2. Convert incandescent/CFL exit signs to LEDs.
  3. Replace 32-watt T8 fluorescent lamp with 28-watt T8 fluorescent lamp.

Which schools are eligible to receive Prop 39 funds?

California LEAs are eligible. These are public school districts, county offices of education, charter schools, and state special schools. Private schools are not eligible. LEAs are defined as a “local educational agency which can be a county office of education, school district, or charter.”

Important Deadlines

Statutory deadline: 6/30/2018
Last date to submit energy expenditure plans to the Energy Commission: 8/1/2017.
More deadline info here.

Contact Info

Of course, we would love to help you upgrade your school to LED lights and can help with a lot of the Prop 39 questions as well. You can ask us questions here and we will do our best to answer them.

As for Prop 39 itself: Prop39@energy.ca.gov and toll-free Prop 39 hotline at 855-380-8722.

You can also hire us to be your ‘energy manager’ at no cost to your school

(From page 16 of the Prop 39 FAQ):

Can an energy manager be a private consultant?

Yes. An energy manager may be either an LEA employee or a private consultant.

Is funding for energy managers only available during the first year?

For the first year, FY2013/14, LEAs may use Proposition 39 planning funding for an
energy manager. For years two to five, 10 percent of each annual award is available for
an energy manager. This funding may be requested each year on an energy
expenditure plan.

Is there a database LEAs or schools can use to find qualified providers for the
various services including energy audits and benchmarking?

The Energy Commission is not aware of an existing database and cannot recommend
vendors or contractors.

Can an LEA hire an energy manager to direct the application process and oversee
the plan development phase?

Yes. The Proposition 39 Guidelines allow an LEA to use energy planning funds to
hire/retain an energy manager.

Can LEAs pool their funding for the services of an energy manager regionally?

Yes. Proposition 39 Guidelines allow for pooling funding for an energy manager. In
addition, an LEA no longer needs to be in the same region to share an energy manager
even if it is more convenient to do so. As discussed previously, each LEA request
energy manager funds separately in their energy expenditure plan and can only request
10 percent of each annual award from years two to five for energy manager
expenditures.