Want to see solar panels on your local schools? You can help!

The RVA Solar Fund presents an incredible opportunity for expanding the use of solar power in Central Virginia – and for bringing a fantastic teaching tool to schools.

Contact your school board representative and let them know about the program. Tell them you want your district to join the other leaders that are enjoying all of the educational, economic, and environmental benefits of on-site solar energy.

Key Details to Share:

  • The program uses power purchase agreements (PPAs) to provide buildings with energy from solar panels installed on site – with no capital or maintenance costs to the on-site host.
  • Program partner Secure Futures installs, owns, and operates the panels and sells the solar energy to the on-site host for 20 years – with cost savings starting in year one and projected for the life of the project.
  • Grant awards can be used to pay for administrative costs incurred executing the grant, a wide range of sustainability initiatives, or clean energy education programs.
  • Virginia has an open cooperative purchasing agreement to make this as easy for public agencies (Albemarle County RFP# 2015-08213-23 – already used by Lexington Public Schools (2015), Richmond Public Schools (2018), and Augusta County Public Schools (2018)).
  • Eligibility: Public-school systems, local governments, and 501(c)(3) charitable organizations in the Community Foundation's service area of the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Richmond as well as the counties of Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, and Powhatan are invited to apply to the RVA Solar Fund. Additionally, K-12 public school districts and local governments from the counties of Amelia, Charles City, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Essex, Gloucester, King and Queen, King William, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, New Kent, Northumberland, Prince George, Richmond, and Westmoreland also are eligible.

For School Districts:

The educational opportunities for solar power equipment on-site may be the most exciting part.

  • STEM and CTE students will be able to get hands-on experience with the basic elements of what is now the world’s fastest-growing energy source and one of the top sources of new jobs in Virginia and the USA.
  • Program partner NEED (The National Energy Education Development Project) will provide solar classroom kits and curricula to all schools that obtain solar arrays. These kits are available for all learning levels and include lesson plans and hands-on activities that incorporate streaming data from the solar equipment installed on site – all while meeting multiple SOLs.
  • NEED and Secure Futures staff will provide free teacher training workshops to introduce them to the curricula and the solar equipment. Live data from the solar arrays add interest to topics including earth science, life science, business, social studies, and math.

First Deadline:

For this final round of the fund, non-binding “Notices of Interest” providing contact information and basic details about potential sites to install solar panels are accepted until January 15, 2019. Applicants who pass an initial technical screening will be invited to pay $100 for a detailed solar feasibility study and continue the application process. Panels will be installed starting in the winter of 2019-20.

To Learn More:

The first round of the RVA Solar Fund resulted in Richmond Public Schools winning $100,000 and signing a contract for more than 2.5 megawatts of solar power across ten schools – which is projected to save them almost $2M over twenty years. Panels will be installed starting in the winter of 2019. Read their press release here. Your community could be next! 

Download contact information for your school board and local government:

“RVA Solar Fund - contact info for decision-makers”

For complete grant and eligibility information, click "Get Started" below to visit the Community Foundation's website.