Category Archives: Solar Schools

Duchesne Academy installs solar panels; part of school’s sustainability initiative

By Sean Everson, KETV News

There are 30 solar panels on the rooftop of Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in an effort to become more sustainable and also incorporate the technology inside the classroom. “We worked with Verdis Group to establish four goals for us for sustainability. One of those goals is to be net positive energy by the year 2030,” said [Principal Eric Krakowski]. That means one day being able to generate enough power to run everything in the school, but for now, once online, the energy created will power multiple classrooms, including the school’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math lab, where students can integrate the data into coursework. Read more or watch the video here.

Nebraska Solar Schools Pilot Project
The Duchesne Academy is among the schools participating in Nebraska Solar Schools’ pilot project funded by the Nebraska Environmental Trust to provide 100 National Energy Education Development (NEED) Solar Energy Kits to K-12 schools. To learn more about this project and request a kit, click here.

Trinity to showcase STEM lab at event

By Tammy Real-McKeighan, Fremont Tribune


Could Reese Barton be a budding engineer? Only time will tell for the fourth-grader at Trinity Lutheran School in Fremont. But on Wednesday morning, Reese spoke enthusiastically while participating in the school’s new STEM lab, where renovations are underway.

Continue reading here.

Photo by Tammy Real-McKeighan

 

Nebraska Solar Schools’ NEED Solar Energy Kits Project (PDF)
Trinity Lutheran School in Fremont is one of many statewide K-12 schools now participating in Nebraska Solar Schools’ National Energy Education Development (NEED) project in which teachers and principals are provided free solar energy kits upon request and for as long as quantities last for their classrooms and after-school STEM programs, through a generous grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust. Solar beads, or UV Beads, mentioned in the article, is just one of many activities among the curriculum materials included in two of the NEED kits: The Sun and Its Energy for Grades K-2 and Wonders of the Sun for Grades 3-5.

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

Nebraska Solar Schools, a program of the nonprofit Nebraskans for Solar, is one of the 117 projects awarded grants from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year.

Nebraskans for Solar News Release 

LINCOLN (April 23, 2019) — Nebraska Solar Schools announced today that it has been awarded a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for $31,250 to fund 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. The project is one of the 117 projects receiving $19,501,444 in grant awards from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year.

The purpose of Nebraska Solar Schools’ Solar Energy Education & Development Program is to provide resources for K-12 teachers to facilitate integration of more solar energy education into their classrooms or after-school programs. Resources are also provided for those who want to install a photovoltaic (PV) system at their school.

The focus of the new pilot project is on K-12 schools in Nebraska towns and cities that have developed or plan to develop solar projects, including rooftop solar, solar farms or other installations. Solar communities provide educational opportunities such as classroom presentations and workshops, field trips and project development in collaboration with solar experts at local utilities, solar businesses, and community colleges that offer renewable energy training programs, for example.

The cities and towns in the pilot project’s focus group include but are not limited to: Ainsworth, Aurora, Central City, Chadron, Fremont, Gothenburg, Grand Island, Hastings, Hemingford, Kearney, Lexington, Lincoln, Loup City, Norfolk, Omaha/Fort Calhoun, O’Neill, Pawnee City, Schuyler, Scottsbluff, South Sioux City, Superior, Venango/Grant and York.

The National Energy Education Development (NEED) Solar Energy Kits’ cross-discipline lesson plans, projects, and activities support Nebraska Science Standards. The four grade-level kits contain all the materials needed for completing each unit, providing an easier and less time-consuming way for teachers to integrate renewable energy education into their curriculum planning. Almost all the materials in the kits are reusable, making them cost-effective.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided over $305 million in grants to over 2,200 projects across the state. Anyone – citizens, organizations, communities, farmers and businesses – can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality and establish recycling programs in Nebraska. The Nebraska Environmental Trust works to preserve, protect and restore our natural resources for future generations.

The Nebraska Environmental Trust is funded by proceeds from the Nebraska lottery and has awarded more than $305 million to over 2,200 conservation projects across the state of Nebraska since 1994. Nebraska Solar Schools’ new pilot project would not be possible without Trust funding.

Contact: Helen Deffenbacher, Nebraska Solar Schools Facilitator
Email: HelenDeffenbacher@NebraskaSolarSchools.Org

Thank you to the following newspapers for publishing the news release:

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