Solar for Students Program

Dominion Energy has partnered with The National Energy Education Development Project (NEED) for over three decades to offer curriculum and training to teachers and students.  In 2015, Dominion Energy and NEED partnered to bring the Dominion Energy Solar for Students program to Virginia schools and STEM-related educational organizations.  The program includes the installation of a photovoltaic (PV) system, hands-on solar kits and teacher training.  To date, the program has supported a total of eighteen installations throughout Virginia.    

Dominion Energy and NEED are currently accepting another round of applications to the Dominion Energy Solar for Students Program from K-12 public schools and STEM related or educational nonprofit organizations in Virginia.  Schools and organizations selected under this round will receive a 1.2 kilowatt PV system that converts sunlight into electric power, an online monitoring tool and connection to other Solar for Students program participants to share data, partner on projects and expand learning.

The program provides:

  • 1.2 kilowatt photovoltaic system that converts sunlight into electric power, often referred to as “solar on a stick”
  • An online monitoring tool, to provide real-time data on the system’s activity and the amount of electricity generated
  • A online data display to show teachers, students, parents, and school visitors the output of the system
  • Solar Energy training for classroom teachers and school personnel
  • Virginia SOL focused solar curriculum and hands-on kits that will teach students how solar works and how energy, the environment and economics are all part of energy decision making.
  • A Solarbration to cut the ribbon and showcase the school’s new installation to the local community
  • Connections to other Solar for Students program participants to share data, partner on projects and expand learning.

Solar for Students


Eligibility:

  • K-12 Public schools in Virginia
  • STEM related educational organizations
  • Schools that have full support of school board, superintendent and school administration for both the installation of the photovoltaic system, as well as curriculum and teacher training
  • Teaching staff who are committed to teaching students about the value of solar energy and exploring energy in class, monitoring the data from the installation, and integrating a deeper understanding of energy into the school
  • The school site will be surveyed for eligibility including space of installation area, access to full sunlight, access to electrical interconnection in the school building, safety and security.

A completed application includes the following:

  1. Narrative in (word or pdf) to include:
    • Current energy and environmental efforts that may include clubs, facilities upgrades, parent organization support and classroom teaching;
    • The vision that the entire school/institution community has for solar power* and energy education in the school/institution;
    • Participant commitment that may include educators (and specific grade levels); faculty and facilities team at the school/institution; students, and community and parent support;
    • A description of where you propose the “solar on a stick” (assume approximately 400 square feet of space for the installation that will be installed on a pole, with the solar panels in a square/rectangular rack 8+ feet off the ground) will be installed, proximity to building, possible shading at certain times of day, visibility to local community;
    • The plan for utilizing the curriculum and data in the classroom/outreach efforts.
    • Be sure to name the file for your school/institution SchoolNameApplication.pdf.
  2. Photos of the proposed site (jpg, png, gif or pdf).At least one photo is required, up to three may be included.Name the file SchoolNamePhoto.jpg, SchoolNamePhoto2.jpg.
  3. Letter of commitment (word or pdf) indicating administrative (Principal, Superintendent, Facilities Director) commitment to the project.Be sure to name the file for your school/institution:SchoolNameCommitmentLetter.pdf.

*Please note:  It is important to have the support and approval from the entire school team, so before submitting the application, please share this information with your principal and facilities team.


Site Selection:
When proposing the site for installation at schools or museums/cultural institutions the following should be considered:

  • Good solar access:  The panel should be in a secure location with limited shading.
  • Proximity to the point of interconnection:  The systems will be wired into a local panel and must be installed as close as possible to the electric meter/school’s main electrical box.
  • Highly visibility:  We want students, parents and your community to be excited, and learn about solar, so it is important to choose a site with lots of foot traffic - close to the school’s entrance or a courtyard. If your school or institution is selected to move forward in the process, NEED will work with licensed contractors to do a site survey with facilities personnel to confirm the selected location and to check for any possible technical or construction difficulties.

Selected applicants will be asked to provide:

  • One designated person at the school with “signatory authority” to sign an interconnection agreement.
  • A copy of the school/district’s insurance policy.
  • Final inspection letter signed, once the installation is completed.
  • Signature of team members on the application, any other information that would be beneficial (ownership of building might be a factor in a few cases – is it urban space that is rented vs owned by the district, etc).

Participating Schools and Organizations

  • Shenandoah Valley Governor's School, Fishersville
  • Goochland High School, Goochland
  • Landstown High School, Virginia Beach
  • T. Clay Wood Elementary School, Prince William County
  • Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Educations Center, Albemarle County
  • Children's Museum of Richmond, Richmond
  • Deer Park Elementary School, Newport News
  • Hampton High School, Hampton
  • Kenmore Middle School, Arlington
  • Math Science Innovation Center, Henrico
  • Grundy High School (Buchanan County)
  • Honaker Elementary School (Russell County)
  • John I. Burton High School (Norton City)
  • Lee County Career & Tech Center (Lee County)
  • Ridgeview High School (Dickenson County)
  • Tazewell High School (Tazewell County)
  • Twin Springs High School (Scott County)
  • Union Elementary School (Wise County)