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 and after-school programs. Resources are also provided for those who want to install a photovoltaic (PV) system at their schools
Funded by grants from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and Facebook’s Community Action Grants Program, we have awarded over 100 NEED Solar Energy Kits to K-12 schools in counties throughout our state. With the remaining funds in our grants, along with additional money Nebraskans for Solar has committed to the project, we look forward to continuing the project during the 2021-2022 academic year.
The solar kits are shipped by UPS from the NEED Project headquarters in Manassas, Virginia. To request a kit for your school, click the following link to download and complete a one-page document: Free NEED Solar Kit Request Form
About The Grants
In April 2019 the Nebraska Environmental Trust awarded Nebraskans for Solar a grant to fund our NEED Solar Energy Kits project. See the following for more information: News Release About The NET Grant.
In March 2020 Nebraskans for Solar was awarded a Facebook Community Action Program Grant to provide the NEED Solar Energy Kits to K-12 schools for the purpose of enhancing STEM education in Sarpy County, where Facebook’s Data Center is located. You can read about each of the 2020 Facebook Community Action Grant recipients here.
We invite solar developers and installers and other Nebraska businesses, parents and grandparents to donate a NEED Solar or Wind Energy Kit to a school in your community.
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 programs. NEED, 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
Questions? Please contact Helen Deffenbacher, Nebraska Solar Schools Facilitator:
New Renewable Energy Education & Training Scholarships Project
Recently a longtime Friend of Nebraskans for Solar, Robert “Bob” Hess, made a generous contribution to Nebraskans for Solar for the purpose of starting a scholarships program for graduating high school seniors who plan to enroll in a solar or wind energy education and training program. Bob has also contributed funds for several NEED Solar Energy Kits for schools in his neighborhood. Having installed solar on his home years ago as a do-it-yourself project, he serves as an example for people of all ages.
Nebraskans for Solar board members added smaller contributions to Bob’s and our treasurer, Ken Deffenbacher, created a separate Scholarships Fund at Metro Credit Union for our first $1,000 scholarship.
Our goal is to raise funds for 12 $1,000 scholarships: 6 for solar and 6 for wind energy education and training. The scholarships will be awarded next Earth Day, April 22, 2022. Recipients can use their scholarships to help pay for a solar or wind energy course or program at a Nebraska community college, or at Solar Energy International (SEI) for an online solar installation course.
We will launch a fundraising drive beginning September 1, 2021 up to shortly before Earth Day 2022, or until we have raised sufficient funds for all 12 scholarships. Individuals, families, organizations and businesses are invited to sponsor a scholarship named in your honor.
Please send us an email if you would like to provide a scholarship for a graduating high school student in Nebraska next spring, or if you have any questions or suggestions about this project: firstname.lastname@example.org