Category Archives: Solar Schools

Stepping Into The Sun: A Mission To Bring Solar Energy To Communities Of Color

By Andrea Hsu, National Public Radio Special Series
Getting to Zero Carbon: The Climate Challenge

Solar energy has taken off across the U.S. As an African American working in the industry, Jason Carney wants to make sure minority communities don’t miss out on the energy savings or the green jobs.

In early June, Nashville’s Metro Council approved a trio of bills that supporters are hailing as the city’s own Green New Deal. The legislation sets a 100% renewable energy target for the metro government, requires government vehicles to be zero-emissions by 2050 and also introduces new green building standards for government buildings. “So there are still these seeds of what can happen tomorrow,” Carney says. “But we’ve got to keep pressing.” Read more here.

Photo: The 40-panel solar installation at Whites Creek High School in north Nashville was paid for by grants and donations and designed and built largely by students under Jason Carney’s supervision. Credit: Andrea Hsu / NPR. View more photos with the article.

Summer Fun for All Ages: A Booklet of Sun & Wind Activities

Sun & Wind Activities For You & Your Family

From Nebraska Solar Schools
A Nebraskans for Solar Program

This little booklet was available at Nebraska Solar Schools’ table during 2019 Earth Day events sponsored by various organizations, and Nature Nights at Omaha-area schools organized and hosted by Austen Hill, Education Director at the Papio-Missouri River NRD. A slightly-revised version, with a link to a PBS video demonstrating how to make a solar cooker and s’mores, is now available for download here.

Lego builds its way to 100% renewables – with its own pieces

Smart Energy International

The company’s transition was originally expected to be reached by 2022, but it became possible to complete the transition sooner, thanks to the completion of a 258MW offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea. Lego has 42 offices around the world, and remains a major influence in culture across generations. Read more here.

RE100: Lego became a member in May 2017. RE100 is a global corporate leadership initiative bringing together leading companies committed to 100% renewable electricity.

Lego Wind Turbine Kit Developed in Partnership With Vestas 

In 2018 Lego “released a fully-functional Lego wind turbine playset, “which allows budding engineers a chance to see the technology in effect, rather than theory.” The Lego bricks are made from a plant-based material sourced from sugarcane. Lego’s ultimate goal is to produce all their products and packaging with sustainable materials by 2030.


Also Of Potential Interest to Teachers

Lego is now on DonorsChoose.org, a non-profit organization that connects public school classrooms with the community to help fund student learning. Find out more about posting your classroom project to DonorsChoose.org and raising funds to benefit your classroom.

Lego’s List of Popular Educational Grant Providers

Nebraska Solar Schools Grant

Nebraska Solar Schools, a Nebraskans for Solar program, is offering 100 NEED Solar Energy Kits to up to 100 Nebraska public and non-public schools. The kits provide K-12 teachers a convenient and fun way to incorporate more solar energy education into their Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) programs.

Teacher and student curriculum guides are available for free download and review at the following links, as well as descriptions of each grade-level solar kit:

The Sun and Its Energy: Grades K-2
Wonders of the Sun: Grades 3-5
Energy from the Sun: Grades 6-8
Exploring Photovoltaics: Grades 9-12

Click here to learn more.

Nebraska Solar Schools Update

 

Nebraska Solar Schools, a Nebraskans for Solar program, has launched a new pilot project made possible by a Nebraska Environmental Trust grant: 100 NEED Solar Energy Kits for 100 Nebraska Schools. So far, schools in the following communities have requested the free NEED (National Energy Education Development) Solar Energy Kits: Ainsworth, Ashland-Greenwood, Bellevue, Gothenburg, Lincoln, Omaha, and Sargent. These kits have been sent via UPS. Nebraska school administrators, teachers, and after-school program directors are invited to apply for a kit.

To learn more and download the one-page form, Request A Solar Kit, please visit: www.nebraskasolarschools.org.

Recommended Reading
Nebraska Solar Schools Awarded $31,250, Rapid City Journal
What happens when schools go solar? Stanford Earth Matters Magazine

Job growth foreseen in Madison County and Northeast Nebraska

By Nick Gebhart, Norfolk Daily News

In terms of specific occupations, among the fastest growing is in wind energy. The number of wind turbine technicians who will be employed in the region is expected to climb by more than 100, up 84 percent from 2016. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Bluestem Energy Solutions

Additional Recommended Reading

  • Helping your home stay cool: Contributed article written by Pat Feist, Beatrice Electric Superintendent, Beatrice Daily Sun
  • Nebraska Solar Schools Awarded $31,250, Rapid City Journal
    Nebraska Solar Schools has announced that it has been awarded $31,250 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for a pilot project within its Solar Energy Education and Development Program: 100 Solar Energy Kits for 100 Nebraska Schools. Nebraska Solar Schools is a program of the nonprofit Nebraskans for Solar.  To request a NEED Solar Energy Kit, visit: www.nebraskasolarschools.org.

What happens when schools go solar?

Stanford Earth Matters Magazine, Stanford University

Sunshine splashing onto school rooftops and campuses across the country is an under-tapped resource that could help shrink electricity bills, new research suggests. The study, published in the April issue of the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research Letters, shows taking advantage of all viable space for solar panels could allow schools to meet up to 75 percent of their electricity needs and reduce the education sector’s carbon footprint by as much as 28 percent. According to the study, it’s not economically viable for educational institutions to purchase rooftop solar systems outright in any state. Rather, the projects can make financial sense for schools if they contract a company to install, own and operate the system and sell electricity to the school at a set rate. Read more here.

Photo: Colorado Chatfield High School teacher Joel Bertelsen explains the fundamentals of a photovoltaic array to his Intro to Engineering Students. Credit: Dennis Schroeder / NREL

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Solar Energy Industries Association Fact Sheet: What is a solar power purchase agreement?

A solar power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial agreement where a developer arranges for the design, permitting, financing and installation of a solar energy system on a customer’s property at little to no cost.

The developer sells the power generated to the host customer at a fixed rate that is typically lower than the local utility’s retail rate. This lower electricity price serves to offset the customer’s purchase of electricity from the grid while the developer receives the income from these sales of electricity as well as any tax credits and other incentives generated from the system.

PPAs typically range from 10 to 25 years and the developer remains responsible for the operation and maintenance of the system for the duration of the agreement. At the end of the PPA contract term, a customer may be able to extend the PPA, have the developer remove the system or choose to buy the solar energy system from the developer.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Resource
Solar Schools Assessment and Implementation Project: Financing Options for Solar Installations on K–12 Schools

Solar on schools advances with open source contracting

By William Driscoll, PV Magazine

With every new solar-on-schools contract more people learn how it’s done, share what they know, and make it easier for neighboring school districts to follow the same path. U.S. schools could host up to 30 gigawatts of solar. Read the entire article here.

Image Credit: Arlington Public Schools: Rooftop solar on an Arlington, Virginia school.

ALSO IN THE NEWS
A 13-year-old won $25,000 for a solar-panel invention that can locate the sun at any time, Business Insider

Georgia Hutchinson, from Woodside, California, took the top prize at the Broadcom Masters nationwide STEM competition for middle-school students. She is working on patenting her invention.
Photo Credit: Society for Science and the Public

SOLAR SCHOOLS RESOURCES

Generation 180

  • Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools, written by The Solar Foundation, Generation 180 and Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Let’s Go Solar:
    School Toolkit
    Champion Toolkit
  • National Resources
  • State Resources Include Nebraska Solar Schools

Amidst Keystone XL Fight, Nebraska Farmers Give 10 Acres Back to the Ponca Nation

Written by Twilight Greenaway, Civil Eats

A few weeks ago, officials from the TransCanada Corporation drove two sets of wooden stakes, each fastened with about a yard of bright orange flagging tape, into the ground along two sides of Art Tanderup’s farm. But Tanderup, a retired school teacher whose Neligh, Nebraska farm sits right on the preferred route for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, took TransCanada’s latest chess move in stride. Continue reading here. 

Photo by Twilight Greenaway: Signs commemorating a meeting of the Cowboy and Indian Alliance on the Tanderups’ farm in 2015.

ALSO IN NEBRASKA


70, OPPD Blog, The Wire

WHAT IS IT? The number of turbines that will produce electricity at the Sholes Wind Energy Center in northeast Nebraska.

 

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

How refinancing could help retire Colorado coal plants sooner
By Allen Best, Energy News Network

Instead of continuing to operate the aging plants, paying down remaining depreciation, or debt, a utility could instead issue bonds securitized by reliable future sales.

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Abby Hopper at SEIA: #ThisIsWhy

The latest SunCast episode syndicated by pv magazine features Abby Hopper’s opening remarks at the Solar Power International Conference.

 

SOLAR SCHOOLS NEWS


New Initiative Helps More Schools Go Solar,
Solar Industry

Solar Schools 2025, an initiative of the nonprofit Renewable Nation, is seeking 50 K-12 schools across the U.S. that can “buddy up” with schools that have already gone through the process of installing solar.

 

MICROGRID NEWS

Microgrids slowly make inroads in Midwest, with Illinois taking the lead

PRODUCT LAUNCH IN THE U.S.

Commercial rooftop solar racking with one drill bit

April is National Poetry Month – Create Sun & Other Nature Haikus for Earth Day Events!

Haiku 俳句 is a form of Japanese poetry often inspired by nature. Haiku poems traditionally consist of 17 syllables on 3 lines. The first and last lines have 5 syllables each and the middle line has 7 syllables. One way to start a haiku is to brainstorm ideas and words related to an experience or moment of beauty.

Haiku Starter – Download & Create!

Bring your poems to the Earth Day events where Nebraskans for Solar and Nebraska Solar Schools will sponsor a table, and our volunteers will post them on a large display board for others to enjoy. Illustrate your poems with paints, magic markers or a photograph, for example, if you want. Click here to read about all our Earth Day activities.
Photo Link

Additional Resources for All Ages
K-12 STEAM Projects & Activities
Climate Change Projects and Activities

Solar Power is Heating Up at Schools Nationwide

By Tish Tablan, National Organizer, Generation 180

More and more schools are taking advantage of their large roofs and open spaces to generate clean power and save money. Solar schools are creating a brighter future by spreading energy awareness to students, parents, and the community.

Generation 180 has recently launched some exciting initiatives to empower schools nationwide to take advantage of all the benefits of solar energy.

  • We’ve just launched our nationwide Solar Schools campaign, which aims to help schools go solar with greater confidence and success.
  • We’ve partnered with The Solar Foundation and the Solar Energy Industries Association  to produce the 2017 Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in US Schools.  This report provides the most comprehensive inventory of solar schools across America and shares the successful approaches of schools transitioning to solar power
  • In addition to the report, Generation 180 offers how-to resources to empower stakeholders to become solar champions who can effectively advocate for solar schools in their own communities.

You Can Help Schools Go Solar

You can help make a brighter future possible. Generation 180 is forming teams of volunteers throughout the country to rally local support from educators, district leaders and community members and providing resources to assist schools in going solar. Contact us to learn about starting a volunteer team in your community. Learn about volunteer teams.

  • Generation 180 is a non-profit committed to advancing the transition to clean energy and supporting a cultural shift in energy awareness through original, engaging content, digitally-enabled campaigns, and an empowered volunteer network.
  • Questions? Contact National Organizer Tish Tabian: tish@generation180.org
  • U.S. Solar Schools Map
  • Nebraska Solar Schools, founded by Nebraskans for Solar and statewide partners, is a program  that provides K-12 educators with resources and tools for incorporating renewable energy education into their classrooms and schools. The resources support Nebraska and national science standards. The program is offered to public and non-public schools, as well as places like schools such as children’s museums, zoos, nature preserves and science and technology centers.