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.

Free NEED Solar Energy Kits for Nebraska Educators

In April 2019 the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) awarded Nebraskans for Solar a grant to fund Nebraska Solar Schools’ project of providing National Energy Education Development (NEED) Solar Energy Kits to K-12 Nebraska 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 this past spring, NET approved a one-year project extension. News Release About The NET Grant. 

In March 2020 Nebraskans for Solar was awarded 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 program education.

Read about all the 2020 Facebook Community Action Grants recipients here.

These STEM education projects would not be possible without funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the Facebook Foundation. 

About The NEED Project & Solar Education 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 curriculum materials in the kits are reusable, and so multiple teachers at each school can use them. While our grants do not provide NEED replacement kits, with new student guides and consumables, these 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

Solar Kit Request Form

To request a kit for your school, download and complete the following one-page document:
Free NEED Solar Kit Request Form

The solar kits are shipped by UPS from the NEED Project headquarters in Manassas, Virginia to the teacher or principal whose name is on the request form. The free kits will remain available until April 30, 2021 or for as long as grant funds last.

Questions? Please contact Helen Deffenbacher, Nebraska Solar Schools Facilitator: