Category Archives: Solar Schools

Nebraska Solar Schools Launches Adopt-A-School Program

blackrocksolar-rainshadowNebraska Solar Schools launched the Adopt-A-School Program last week at the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Science (NATS) Fall Conference. The Adopt-A-School Program is for Nebraska educators at public and non-public schools, as well as places like schools, who are interested in collaborating with potential funders to install a photovoltaic (PV) system at their school and/or purchase solar energy kits, books and other educational materials.

The Adopt-A-School Program also seeks funding partners: philanthropists, foundations, and businesses interested in collaborating with a Nebraska school or a place like a school that wants to “go solar.” For more information, visit:

Photo Courtesy of Black Rock Solar

4 reasons net-zero energy should start with schools

By Kelly Vaughn, Green Biz


Current discussions on how to improve education have focused on better teachers, better technology and more funding (which deepens the debate on who should pay for it). But consider that each year K–12 schools spend more than $8 billion on energy — more than they spend on computers and textbooks combined. Too commonly overlooked is the opportunity to cost-effectively improve our nation’s schools and enhance student performance by tackling the performance of the very buildings in which children, faculty and staff spend more than eight hours each day. With energy costs averaging about $300 per student per year, cash-strapped districts have found improving energy performance as the best way to lower operating and maintenance costs. Click to read more

Photo: Schools that integrate solar panels onto their campuses can teach valuable hands-on lessons to students about physics, technology and global stewardship. Credit: Shutterstock / pisaphotography

The enormous scale of all the energy that we never used, by Chris Mooney, The Washington Post
Click here to download the new American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (AEEE) Report that Mooney references in his article: The Greatest Energy Story You Haven’t Heard: How Investing in Energy Efficiency Changed the US Power Sector and Gave Us a Tool to Tackle Climate Change

4 Minnesota schools get solar panels

By Deanna Weniger, Grand Forks Herald

Solar energy panels

Four Farmington, Minn., schools should have solar panels on their roofs by the end of September.The school board on Monday approved a contract with Edina-based Sundial Solar Energy to put solar panels on Boeckman and Dodge middle schools and Riverview and Farmington elementary schools. The district currently pays a $976,000 annual electricity bill. Once the arrays are up and running, Sundial Solar estimates the the district could save about $74,250 in energy costs after expenses in the first year. They could save up to $2.7 million over the length of the 25-year contract. They could save a lot more if, by year seven, they choose to buy out their investor. Continue reading.

Photo by vencavolrab /

Pope’s Global Call for Solar Catholic Schools is Laudato Si’ in Action

Post written by Eden Keeper


Pope Francis tirelessly addresses climate change and global warming at international forums in Rome and around the globe. With this new initiative, the Vatican is enthusiastic, recognizing a global movement and effective means of implementing Pope Francis’ renowned encyclical, Laudato Si’, or Praised Be: On Care for Our Common Home . . . Confirming the untapped potential for solar schools in the US, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports, “While thousands of schools have already realized the cost savings and other benefits of installed solar energy capacity, this opportunity is generally underutilized.” Click to read more.

Image:  31 solarized catholic schools in Townsville, AU, are now saving $250,000 a year. Credit:

Wisconsin school largest solar electricity producer among the state’s K-12 schools

By Kayla Barnes, Republican Journal Editor. Posted on SW News 4UDarlington School

The project was initiated by a group of students, community leaders, school board members and staff that served as a think tank for creating a 21st century learning environment across the district. For more information and to see a live kiosk link to the solar panels, go to the school’s website and under “District”, click the “Solar Project” link. Read more.

Direct Link to Darlington School’s Solar Project  

Michigan high school student’s senior science project: Raising funds to install a 7-kilowatt PV system at his school

By Kyle Kaminski, Record-Eagle


TRAVERSE CITY — Not all high school science projects come with a $25,000 price tag. Senior Caleb Brown admits his idea to install solar panels at Northport Public School is ambitious. The required paperwork and permits alone is bewildering. But when he tacked on the thousands of dollars needed to get the senior project off the ground — the concept seemed unfathomable.
“Once in the middle of the year, I was starting to think I didn’t know how I was going to raise all this money,” Brown said. Continue reading.

Photo: Record-Eagle. Northport Public School senior Caleb Brown said that his solar array project will be complete by mid-summer.

Powering knowledge: Program helps kids learn about renewable energy

By Jane Carlson, QCOnline / Radish Magazine
Iowa Governor's STEM program photo
Building a model wind turbine or solar car is not out of reach for students, thanks to a unique program at the University of Northern Iowa. Inspired by the memoir, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” about a young boy who built a windmill for his family’s electricity source, Fabulous Resources for Energy Education (F.R.E.E.) offers kits for students that put renewable resources into their own hands. The kits have been available for more than 10 years, according to Patricia Higby, energy education and outreach coordinator for the Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE) at UNI, which oversees the F.R.E.E. program. Read more here.

Photo: Courtesy of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. A boy enjoys learning more about wind turbines with a University of Northern Iowa Fabulous Resources for Energy Education wind turbine kit.

F.R.E.E. Resources & Kits for Purchase 
As the article mentions, F.R.E.E. also provides downloadable energy resources, and the renewable energy kits are available for purchase, with quantity discounts. These include the Energy Educator’s Kit, Geared Wind Turbine Kit, Junior Wind Turbine Kit, and the Solar Car Kit.
Fabulous Resources for Energy Education’s Online Store 

More renewable energy resources are available at Nebraska Solar Schools’ website. Click on “Going Solar” for information about the program & “Curriculum Resources” for projects & activities. Most of them are free or inexpensive.

Looking for a summer educational project? Check out Solar Energy International’s Free Online Course

RE100: Introduction to Renewable Energy

Geared toward students 12 years of age and up, Solar Energy International’s free 10-lesson online course includes videos, readings, quizzes, exercises and discussion forums. The course is written at the high school level with lessons in energy efficiency, solar thermal, solar electric, wind, microhydro, renewable energy in the developing world and the economics of renewable energy.

SEI's Intro to Renewable Energy

SEI encourages teachers to take this course and evaluate it as curriculum to be used with students. The course is now also available in Spanish. To learn more, click SEI’s Free Online Course

Visit Solar Energy International’s website for information about all their programs, including:

Nebraska Solar Schools’ website also provides many solar energy resources for all ages:

Cooperative provides ‘Solar for Schools’

 Posted on Agri-View

Brian Rude


“’Solar for Schools’ is an exciting project for many reasons,” said Brian Rude, Dairyland vice-president of external and member relations. “The solar arrays will be a great educational tool in the schools, in addition to the benefit of helping power the schools with renewable energy from the sun.” Read more here.

Dairyland Power Cooperative’s Website

News Release 


Nebraska Solar Schools Website: 

Looking for a book to give to a K-8 school in recognition of Earth Day 2016?

Investigating Solar Energy is a new book published by Vernier Software and Technology that contains nine hands-on experiments and two culminating engineering projects that enable students to learn about solar energy and develop solutions to real-world problems.

About Vernier Software & Technology
Vernier Software & Technology has been a leading global innovator of scientific data-collection technology for 35 years. Focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Vernier is dedicated to developing creative ways to teach and learn using hands-on science.

Vernier creates easy-to-use and affordable science interfaces, sensors, and graphing/analysis software. With worldwide distribution to over 130 countries, Vernier data loggers are used by educators and students from elementary school to University. Vernier technology-based solutions enhance STEM education, increase learning, build students’ critical thinking skills, and support the science and engineering practices detailed in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The Vernier business culture is grounded in Earth-friendly policies and practices, and the company provides a family-friendly workplace. For more information, visit