Established Solar Panel Grants for Schools

solarRenewable energy sources can be cost effective and are good for the environment. Solar energy is a renewable resource because it relies on energy from the sun. The United States has committed to finding ways to implement solar energy programs in order to save money as well as to prevent the depletion of natural resources.

There are numerous ways for schools districts to equip their buildings with renewable resources. Solar panels are one of the most popular choices to upgrade schools because they are easy to install and can be used anywhere in the United States. They also encourage environmental awareness among the student population which prepares the next generation to make smart environmental decisions. Districts already dealing with enormous budget cuts often find financial assistance by applying for solar panel grants for schools.

There are many grants for solar panels for schools. They are often funded by energy companies or by the federal or state government. Here are some of the solar panel grants for schools that are currently being funded:

1.      Pacific Gas & Electric Solar Schools Programs

Districts can upgrade equipment in their school buildings with the help of the Green Your School Projects program. Educational Solar Projects is the solar science lessons component of the program. Teachers or administrators can receive grants in the amount of $1000 to $10000 by applying to Pacific Gas & Electric.

2.      PPL Project Earth

Teaches can conduct lessons about renewable energy and coordinate classroom projects with the environmental education grants provided through PPL Project Earth.  The program is sponsored by the Bonneville Educational Foundation. Solar panel grants for schools range from $500 to $5000.

3.      Federal Programs

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funded school district projects. One way the money was used by many school districts was with renewable energy interventions.

  • Kansas

The Kansas Green School Program provides grants for a number of environmental issues in Kansas schools, including solar panel grants for schools to encourage the use of renewable energy.

  • Illinois

The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation helps Illinois schools fund solar panels.

  • Florida 

Florida has a unique program that relies on solar panel grants for schools. The SunSmart Schools E-Shelters (Emergency Shelters) Program involves building school emergency shelters to protect residents in case of a hurricane. The shelters will run on a 10-kilowatt solar energy system.

  • California

The School Facility Program in California provides funds to update school facilities. Building must be at least 25 years old without any previous modernization efforts. Financial amounts are determined by the number of students. Some schools use the funds for solar panel installation.

  • Illinois

Grants in the Illinois School Energy Efficient Grant Program can be used for a variety of school improvements, including windows, doors, energy conservation, and alternative energy systems. Specific guidelines can be accessed in a PDF at the grant website. The booklet includes directions for filling out the grant application as well.  The program is budgeted for $9 million and each school district can receive a maximum of $250,000.

  • Nevada

Nevada school districts can receive assistance from the Energy Smart Schools Incentives program. Schools can take advantage of the utility rebate program in buildings that serve grades K-12. Possible projects include evaporative coolers, programmable thermostats, vending machine sensors, energy management, boilers, heat pumps and building controls.

  • Oklahoma

Each eligible school district can receive up to $200,000 in the Oklahoma State Loan Program for energy conservation. The interest rate is 3% for a maximum of six years. The program’s entire budget is $1 million. Projects include solar water heaters, solar space heaters, photovoltaics, and biomass.

  • Tenessee

Energy Efficient Schools Initiative (EESI) Act of 2008 funds The Energy Efficient Schools Council to support energy conservation efforts. Eligible projects include but are not limited to LED Exit Signs, Furnaces, Boilers, Programmable Thermostats, and Energy Management Controls. There have been $87 million in grants and loans provided so far. Grant amounts are determined by pupil count.

  • Washington

 Washington school districts can apply for the Bonneville Education Grant program Solar4Schools. It finances the installation of small-scale photovoltaic systems at schools that serve students K-12. In order to be part of the program the school has to maintain the system and implement an educational program for public outreach.

Districts all over the country are benefitting from solar grants for schools programs. As the country increased energy conservation awareness the use of solar power grants for schools will increase.

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