Renewable School Applications
Before you apply, please review the information below to understand how these projects are selected, the requirements for school participation and what you can expect should you receive support for your project. All applicants and project host sites are expected and assumed to be in compliance with all laws, including equal opportunity and environmental laws.
There are two separate types of Solar 4R Schools projects. The Renewable Classroom project is for schools that are interested in integrating STEM renewable energy education into their school curriculum. A Renewable Classroom project includes a teacher training, science kit materials for the classroom ($3,500 value) and ongoing support and resources from the Solar 4R Schools staff. A $2,000 local match is appropriate for this type of project. If your school already has an installed PV system and you want to leverage the educational benefits of the system with data monitoring for classroom use, an additional applicant match would be required to cover the cost for a touch-screen kiosk to display live solar energy data at the school or facility.
The Renewable School project includes a teacher training, science kit materials and the installation of a demonstration photovoltaic (PV) system at your school with data monitoring. Typical photovoltaic systems installed have ranged from 4-12kW, depending on local cost variables. An local match of $15,000 is typically required for a Renewable School project.
Solar 4R Schools does not provide cash grants. Rather, Solar 4R Schools provides selected schools with full-service support for the project (supported with local match) for teacher professional development training and resources, ongoing content/technical support and, depending on the type of project, BEF project procurement and management of the installation of a demonstration-scale PV system.
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Solar 4R Schools does not typically support projects with the following characteristics:
- Located in Investor-Owned Utility service areas
- Located outside of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States of America
- Student-led projects: While we are inspired by and applaud student leadership efforts, Solar 4R Schools focuses on supporting teachers as the experts of the classroom for years on end and the force that inspires our next generation every day.
If you are excited about renewable energy education but do not meet the above eligibility requirements, please check with your local utility - they may have any energy education or PV installation programs available in your area. Also check out:
- The Solar Foundation
- National Solar Schools Consortium
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)
WHAT TO EXPECT - Deadlines and Notifications
Solar 4R Schools accepts Renewable Classroom and Renewable School project applications on an ongoing basis from educational facilities meeting the above eligibility requirements. Applications are only accepted from our website; paper applications will not be considered. Solar 4R Schools support is provided to eligible schools as funding matches become available. Decisions are tied to the designated application review as indicated below (Deadlines and Notifications). At the end of each review period, all applicants will be informed of the status of their application.
The application review and notification cycle occurs twice each year. Funding support is particularly limited for the full-scale Renewable School projects (includes PV installation) and competition for these resources has grown over the years.
Fall—Application Deadline: June 15; Communication of Decision: September 30
Spring—Application Deadline: December 31; Communication of Decision: March 31
What We Look for in a Partner School
In addition to meeting our eligibility requirements noted above, we look for applicants with a commitment to renewable energy education. Applicants should demonstrate alignment with the Solar 4R Schools mission as well as a broader commitment to sustainability and renewable energy. Our best school partners have a unique capacity to leverage the educational resources we provide into as many classrooms within their school or district as possible, with a plan to transfer ownership of the role of Teacher Champion should it become necessary. Additionally, Schools/Districts or educational institutions should have a plan to maintain their new PV system as part of their facilities after project completion and ownership transfer of the physical PV system and data displays, if applicable.
The Role of the Teacher Champion
Our program aims to inspire a new generation of leaders, engineers, innovators and citizens that understand the critically important energy issues that will shape the future of our world. Since we cannot achieve this mission without the support of our partner educators, we seek schools where teachers and administrators are able to demonstrate their commitment to this mission.
To this end, we ask that each project school is lead by a Teacher Champion who will serve as our key point of contact, and who is willing to champion the program’s adoption by as many educators in their school as possible. Specifically, we are seeking Teacher Champion partners who can support the following activities:
- Submit a brief “Classroom Update” to Solar 4R Schools to include on your project profile page to share recent methods and activities you’ve used to teach renewable energy in the classroom, as well as upload photos and videos
- Inspire other educators to attend the Solar 4R Schools teacher training at your school
- Work with the Solar 4R Schools team to identify the best-fit science kit materials to share within your school
- Encourage educators within your school to utilize the curricular resources available on the Solar4RSchools.org website
HOW TO APPLY
If you are an educator or school administrator interested in applying to receive funding for a Renewable School or Renewable Classroom project, simply complete and submit the application online. A PDF form is available for download, which the Teacher Champion or school administrator should fill out and submit to the Solar 4R Schools Program.
The application will include four main written sections:
- a brief school profile to give us a sense of your school and local community
- a cost share narrative to demonstrate your ability and plan for how your school will raise contributing funds
- a project statement illustrating your goals for this project including what you hope to receive from us, and
- a detailed plan for the successful delivery of your goals (see Educational Deliverables & Project Timeline section below).
EDUCATIONAL DELIVERABLES & PROJECT TIMELINE
In exchange for providing schools with solar projects, BEF requires the recipients to commit to certain Deliverables in order to further the educational mission. BEF will select schools, primarily, based on the quality of the proposed Educational Deliverables. The Teacher Champion will integrate the renewable energy educational material provided by BEF into existing classes where appropriate. Be prepared with a write-up of your proposed deliverables, complete with a timeline, products and a metric for determining that you have been successful with each activity. These deliverables should clearly match the goals illustrated in your “Project Statement.” Examples of high-quality deliverables have the following components:
- Complete description of the deliverable (rather than just bullet points)
- Clear measures of completion/success
- A person clearly responsible for completion of the tasks
- Target date(s) of completion for project milestones
- Ensures sustainable improvement for years to come for your STEM/STEAM/CTE educational programming
Generally, BEF likes to see schools commit to at least 3-5 meaningful Deliverables. We evaluate this section very closely - so propose your best ideas - the more creative, the better! Deliverables can range from means by which to leverage our science kit materials, existing curriculum or projects into the classroom to hosting engineering challenges, creating environmental or renewable energy clubs, or engaging with student, local or national media.
Project Report (mandatory) . The Teacher Champion will submit a Project Summary Report to BEF after one year of project operation. Please acknowledge this in your proposal. This report will include, at a minimum, the following information:
- Details related to the other Deliverables listed in this Agreement
- General updates on other curricula or events related to the project, including pictures and videos (for which you have signed permission forms on record at your school), and any social media, internet, and local news links you wish to share
Solar 4R Schools projects are funded primarily through the generous financial commitment of our corporate, utility and foundation partners. Funding partners work with BEF to select one or more project schools that fit well with their business or funding goals. BEF provides our funding partners with predetermined opportunities to gain brand exposure (through logo placement) in exchange for their financial commitment, including recognition on our website and, in some cases, co-branded signage or touchscreen kiosks installed at the PV system host facility. While BEF continually seeks out new opportunities for funding, our geographic scope is limited to the regions of interest for our existing partners.
When a new or existing funding partner wishes to establish a project in a specific region of interest, we may solicit applications specifically for those regions, which may be outside our current regions of eligibility. In addition, if your school is outside of our eligible locations but has a pre-existing relationship with a utility or other potential project funder, please contact us.
Once your school's proposal for a Solar 4R Schools project has been selected, BEF will contact you with further information. For Renewable Classroom projects, this will mean direct contact with one of our Energy Education Program Managers to coordinate a teacher workshop and personalized science kits for your facility.
Renewable School projects will often require a local match of $15,000. You will work in partnership with an assigned project manager from BEF for the PV installation and data monitoring, and then a Solar 4R Schools program manager for the educational portion of your project. You can expect exceptional communication from your project managers, who will serve as great technical and educational resources for you through the duration of your project.
BEF anticipates funding an unspecified number of Solar 4R Schools projects through this program. All applications will be reviewed and decisions made based on a scoring rubric and the availability of a matching funding partner. BEF reserves the right to not fund any projects if no submitted applications appear to meet the program’s goals and objectives. Project funding and support will be provided at the sole discretion of BEF.
Should your application be a good fit for our program and an available funding partner, our team will contact you.