Mar 30, 2023
New Grant Program Enables Schools in Coalfield Communities of WV & VA to Install Solar
We’re excited to be part of a new partnership to bring solar power and jobs to coalfield regions of Appalachia through their educational institutions.
Intuit announced the launch of the Coalfield Solar Fund in March 2023, in partnership with The National Energy and Education Development (NEED) Project, a nonprofit educational organization, and Secure Solar Futures. This initiative expands on our previous collaboration with Intuit and NEED on a solar project for K-12 public schools in Wise County, Virginia.
The Coalfield Solar Fund is an innovative partnership that provides multi-year grant funding to help bring on-site solar power, job training, and hands-on student learning opportunities in the industry to communities in the states of Virginia and West Virginia historically focused on coal mining.
The program provides incentive grant funding opportunities for public K-12 and community colleges to apply for solar at no upfront cost, while simultaneously arming local workforces with valuable and vital skills for renewable energy careers. The Coalfield Solar Fund also provides economic savings for schools on their energy bills and delivers a hands-on learning curriculum for high school students, which is bolstered by Intuit’s financial literacy and design thinking tools.
“As part of our Climate Positive Commitment, Intuit has teamed up with Secure Solar Futures and the NEED Project to sustainably power prosperity in the coalfields regions of Virginia and West Virginia that have been powering the US for hundreds of years,” said Debbie Lizt, Head of Sustainability at Intuit. “We’re excited to help create new career pathways and educational opportunities in underserved communities, while also helping reduce carbon emissions in the transition to 21st century energy sources.”
Intuit is a founding partner and key funding contributor, and grants will be distributed by the NEED Project. Awards will be made up to $150,000 per institution 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 (PPA) with Secure Solar Futures and to partner with the company to start and operate a program to train solar installers locally.
“One of the best ways to bring solar power to a community is to start with public schools and community colleges,” said Ryan McAllister, CEO of Secure Solar Futures. “Schools have large flat rooftops suitable to host larger solar arrays and can greatly benefit from the financial savings and educational opportunities that solar power offers. Best of all, schools and colleges can now go solar much more affordably than in the past thanks to newly-available PPA structures.”
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, 2023. The Fund will then evaluate each application to assess solar feasibility. If selected for the final round, additional application steps will be required for submission by July 1, 2023. Awards will be announced at the start of the new school year this fall. Applicants not awarded grants in the first phase will be entered on a waiting list for subsequent rounds of funding.
Informational Webinars in April
Interested schools and colleges can learn more about the program by attending two informational webinars scheduled for April 6 and April 12, 2023.
Webinar details and signups, along with more information about the Coalfield Solar Fund, can be found at the program’s website: www.coalfieldsolarfund.org.
Written by: Amethyst Ralls