NC GreenPower Brings Solar PV to North Carolina Schools
In October 2003, NC GreenPower was launched to supplement the state’s existing power supply with more green energy – that is, energy generated from renewable energy sources like the sun, wind, water and organic matter. At its 10 year anniversary in 2013, the NC GreenPower Board of Directors began a two-year strategic planning process to study the potential of transitioning the program into one that supports solar PV projects that have a broader impact on our local communities.
NC GreenPower Solar Schools was introduced on April 1, 2015. This pilot program uses a portion of current donations to provide matching grants for the installation of small solar PV systems (3-5 kW) at North Carolina schools, providing clean, green renewable energy. The NC GreenPower Solar Schools pilot offers matching funds to any eligible North Carolina K-12 school, giving teachers valuable tools to educate students about renewable energy.
This pilot is open to all schools, but some preference may be given to those schools in Tier 1 counties, as defined by the NC Department of Commerce. This program is not exclusive to Tier 1 counties and schools in all counties are encouraged to apply. Schools will be eligible for a 50 percent matching grant, up to $10,000, and will then raise the balance of the cost. NC GreenPower will supplement the school’s fundraising efforts with marketing and social media campaigns. As part of the pilot, NC GreenPower will also provide a weather station, real-time monitoring equipment and develop curriculum and lesson plans for educators to use for their school’s grade levels, providing a hands-on experience for their students. “Our goal is to provide teachers and students with a really fantastic educational tool that can be used now and for many years into the future,” said Vicky McCann, NC GreenPower’s vice president.
NC GreenPower has also partnered with the State Employees Credit Union (SECU) Foundation, which is offering a $10,000 matching challenge grant to any awarded public school that is successful in raising their funds, allowing them to increase their system to a 5 kW array.
All four first year pilot NC GreenPower Solar Schools successfully raised funds and received a matching grant from both NC GreenPower and the SECU Foundation. The selected schools for 2015 were:
- C.E. Jordan High School, Durham County
- East Columbus High School, Columbus County
- Meadowview Magnet Middle School, Surry County
- New Bern High School, Craven County
In year two, the pilot provided matching funds to five more North Carolina K-12 schools. 2016 Solar Schools were:
- Carolina International School, Cabarrus County
- Central Park School for Children, Durham County
- Pleasant High School: Academy of Energy & Sustainability, Cabarrus County
- NC School of Science and Mathematics, Durham County
- Queens Creek Elementary School, Onslow County
In year three, five additional schools were selected:
- Alleghany High School, Alleghany County
- Helena Elementary School, Person County
- Lake Lure Classical Academy, Rutherford County
- Perquimans County Middle School, Perquimans County
- Richmond Early College High School, Richmond County
Any school representative wishing to learn more about the NC GreenPower Solar School grant should visit the NC GreenPower website for more information.
About NC GreenPower: Since the launch of the program, NC GreenPower renewable energy projects have generated 868 million kilowatt hours of green power. Donors have contributed nearly $6 million in incentive payments to more than 1,020 renewable energy projects in almost every county across North Carolina. That’s the equivalent of providing 60,400 houses with energy for a year. Carbon offset projects have mitigated 54,600 tonnes of greenhouse gases – equivalent to the emissions from driving 152 million miles – and that’s like planting 9.26 million trees.
Donations to the program can be made by individuals or businesses through their utility bill or directly to NC GreenPower. Projects are located within North Carolina, so you can be assured that your contribution will stay local, supporting a brighter future. To support NC GreenPower and their new pilot, donations can be made for as little as $4 a month through your utility bill or in any amount on our website: ncgp.org/donate. Contributions to the program are tax-deductible.