Nebraska Solar Schools

Nebraska Solar Schools is a Nebraskans for Solar program that has its own website. The purpose of our Solar Energy Education & Development Program is to provide resources for K-12 teachers to facilitate integration of renewable 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 schools.

Grant-Funded Projects: NEED Solar Energy Kits

In April 2019 the Nebraska Environmental Trust awarded a grant to Nebraskans for Solar to fund Nebraska Solar Schools’ project of providing National Energy Education Development (NEED) Solar Energy Kits to K-12 schools requesting them. During the 2019 to 2020 academic year, 64 kits were awarded to schools all across the state. Funds remain in the grant for about 40 kits. With statewide school closures, the Nebraska Environmental Trust has approved a one-year extension of the grant to June 30, 2021. 

In March 2020 Nebraskans for Solar received a Facebook Community Action Grant to support the Nebraska Solar Schools program. The grant specifically will provide schools in Sarpy County that request them with NEED Solar Energy Kits for enhancement of STEM programming.

You can read about all the 2020 Facebook Community Action Grants recipients here.


Both of these projects will start up on September 1, 2020 with the release of the 2020 – 2021 editions of the NEED Solar Energy Kits. These educational projects would not be possible without funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the Facebook Foundation.

About NEED Solar Energy Kits

The National Energy Education Development (NEED} Project partners with numerous local, state, and national energy outreach programs, including Nebraska Solar Schools and similar renewable energy education and development programsNEED, which began in 1980, relies on an extensive nationwide Teacher Advisory Board to ensure that all curriculum materials are objective, up-to-date, scientifically accurate, and meet the requirements of national and state science standards.

Benefits of the NEED Solar Energy Kits

  • 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. Replacement kits with new student guides and consumables are a fraction of the cost of the main kits.
  • Most NEED modules are inquiry-based, helping students to develop and access critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Activities that are not inquiry-based are engaging and interactive.
  • NEED materials provide evaluation strategies, including pre- and post-assessments, rubrics, and project-based tasks, enabling teachers to track their students’ knowledge gain.

There are four grade-level kits:

  • 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

NEED Solar Energy Kits: 2020 – 2021 Editions

All four grade-level NEED Solar Energy Kits are updated every year and new curriculum materials added. The 2020 – 2021 editions will become available sometime this summer. This will be announced on our Nebraskans for Solar and Nebraska Solar Schools websites, our Facebook page, and in our newsletters.

Solar Kit Request Form

A new request form will be posted on Nebraska Solar Schools’ website when the 2020 – 2021 editions of the solar kits become available. They will be sent via UPS from NEED Project headquarters in Manassas, Virginia to the teacher or principal whose name is on the request form.

Questions? Please contact Helen Deffenbacher, Nebraska Solar Schools Facilitator: HelenDeffenbacher@NebraskaSolarSchools.Org

News Release About the Nebraska Environmental Trust Grant
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.