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Fund to provide coal country schools with solar power and workforce development

The rooftop solar PV system serving the MEA-funded resiliency hub located at St. Jude Regional Catholic School in Rockville, MD. Photo courtesy of Maryland Energy Administration

A partnership aims to provide schools in Virginia and West Virginia with solar power systems and training for students to one day join the renewable energy workforce.

The Coalfield Solar Fund is a partnership among Intuit, The National Energy and Education Development (NEED) Project, a nonprofit educational organization, and Secure Solar Futures, a provider of on-site clean energy and educational programs to schools and colleges.

Grant awards will range from $50,000 to $150,000 per campus to qualifying and successful K-12 public school and community college applicants to allow them to deploy solar power solutions and prepare local students for careers in renewable energy.

To qualify for the grant program, applicants must agree both to obtain on-site solar power systems through a power purchase agreement with Secure Solar Futures and to partner with the company to start and operate a program to train solar installers locally.

For the first phase of funding, applicants must submit a brief notice of interest form through the program’s website, www.coalfieldsolarfund.org, by April 17. Awards will be announced at the start of the new school year this fall. 

Encore Renewable Energy CEO Chad Farrell joined Episode 22 of the Factor This! podcast to talk about brownfield and energy community clean energy development and how the Inflation Reduction Act is impacting the bankability of these tricky projects. 

Intuit is building off the success of its earlier collaboration with Secure Solar Futures on a solar project in Wise, Virginia with the Coalfield Solar Fund. The program provides incentive grant funding opportunities for public K-12 and community colleges to apply for solar energy systems and equipment at no upfront cost, while simultaneously arming local workforces with valuable and vital skills for clean energy careers.

The Coalfield Solar Fund establishes in-classroom, educational opportunities on STEM and clean energy, and delivers a hands-on learning curriculum for high school students while also providing economic savings for schools on their energy bills.

Read the full article here

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