Green School Grants Come To Washington

[Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly called Solar Schools Solar 4R Schools, which is an independent program of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. We regret the error.]

Not long back, we reported on a program from the National Renewable Energy Lab aimed at getting wind turbines installed in schools and school curriculum. Now  we’ve received word of a similar program offering assistance for schools wishing to bring on renewable energy and renewable energy education in the form of solar arrays or small wind from Puget Sound Energy (PSE).

Since 2004, the utility’s Renewable Energy Education Program (formerly called Solar Schools) and voluntary Green Power Program have provided $394,139 in grants to fund 23 educational solar-power projects in Western Washington. Now PSE has expanded the renewable energy assistance under this program to include wind power turbines, and has opened its grant cycle to nonprofit institutions as well as schools with a renewable-energy education focus. Grants range from $5,000 to $20,000.

Sakai Building Solar power

image via Puget Sound Energy

These grants can provide supplemental funds for existing projects, or can cover the entire cost of installation, up to $20,000, of a renewable-energy demonstration system. In addition to such helpful cash, grants provide real-time, Web-based monitoring software that allow students and others to track how much energy is being generated by a given renewable energy system, as well as educational materials, science teacher training, classroom activity guides and renewable-energy science kits.

Puget Sound area schools and green-focused educational nonprofits are encouraged to submit  plans detailing their educational goals and objectives for a solar or wind demonstration project between 900 watts to 2 kilowatts in capacity by March 15th of this year. Applicants are required to have used a PSE energy efficiency program within the past 36 months; more information is available online.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.