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Back to School Opportunities

Back to School Opportunities

back to school

There is a lot of focus at the federal and state level on keeping school environments healthy for students, faculty, and staff. This August, SoCalREN Public Agency Programs have prepared a list of resources for school district agencies!

Use the list below to find funding opportunities (with complementary programs) to enhance project financing and online training resources to help you manage healthy, reliable, and efficient school buildings!

Funding Opportunities and Complementary Programs


2022 Clean School Bus Rebate


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is offering $500 million to schools pursuing zero-emission and low-emission school bus purchases over the next five years (FY 2022-2026).

Important dates:

Application deadline: August 19, 2022

Selection process begins: September 2022

Selection status posted online: October 2022

Complementary opportunity:

Public agencies enrolled in SoCalREN's Public Agency Programs are eligible to apply for LA County's Public Power Up! This limited-time program offers free electric vehicle charger installation for cities, school districts, and other public agencies serving disadvantaged communities.



California Schools Healthy Air Plumbing and Efficiency Program (CalSHAPE)


CalSHAPE is a funding source designed, administered, and implemented by the California Energy Commission (CEC) to assist highly-impacted schools in obtaining funding for their plumbing and ventilation projects.

Important dates:

Funding Round Three*

Priority Eligibility application: June 21, 2022

All site application: August 2, 2022

Application deadline: October 31, 2022


*Eligibility for Funding Round Three of the CalSHAPE programs has been expanded

Complementary opportunity:

Energy efficiency and HVAC projects funded by AB841 are eligible to utilize SoCalREN’s Metered Savings Program or Streamlined Savings Pathway Program incentives.


Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER)


ESSER funds are a reserved CARES Act fund that provides local educational agencies (LEAs) with emergency relief funds for a broad range of activities listed in section 18003(d) of the CARES Act to address the impact of COVID-19.

Important dates:

ESSER I spending deadline: September 30, 2022

ESSER II spending deadline: September 30, 2023

ESSER III spending deadline: September 30, 2024

Complementary opportunities:

Energy efficiency and HVAC projects funded by ESSER are also eligible to utilize SoCalREN’s Metered Savings Program or Streamlined Savings Pathway Program incentives.


Under ESSER II and ESSER III, installing solar and storage with and without microgrid applications is an allowable expense.


Energy Conservation Assistance Act (ECAA)


Through the California Energy Commission, ECAA offers a zero-interest loan program for school districts pursuing energy efficiency and energy generation projects.

Important dates:

Zero-interest program application re-opens in late summer 2022.

Comparable option:

SoCalREN’s Revolving Savings Fund is a 0% interest rate loan program that can provide upfront construction financing for enrolled public agencies pursuing an energy efficiency project.

Additional Online Resources

New Buildings Institute (NBI) advocates for better buildings that achieve zero energy, and zero carbon through research, policy, guidance, and market transformation to protect people and the planet.

Efficient and Healthy Schools is a campaign by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to engage K-12 schools, especially those serving low-income and underserved student populations, to reduce energy costs, and improve energy performance and indoor air quality.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highlights how school facility leaders can manage healthy school environments to improve student and educator attendance, concentration, and performance.

Are you interested in any of the abovementioned opportunities? Reach out to your SoCalREN Project Manager to get started!