Sunday, April 14, 2024

Calling all schools, cultural institutions: Dominion is accepting applications for solar panels

Deer Park Elementary School is one of 16 schools to get a grant form Dominion Energy to install solar panels (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Newport News Public Schools)
Deer Park Elementary School is one of 16 schools to get a grant form Dominion Energy to install solar panels (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Newport News Public Schools)

Dominion Energy will accept applications for the Solar for Students program, which gives solar panels to eligible schools or cultural institutions for free starting this summer.

The company recently received a $250,000 grant for the Dominion Energy Foundation for the 2019-2020 school year.

“Dominion Energy loves helping students prepare for a bright energy future,” Bonita Harris, spokeswoman for Dominion Energy, wrote in an email. “With renewable energy a growing part of Virginia’s energy mix, Dominion Energy is dedicated to providing K-12 students with opportunities to learn about solar energy.”

The Solar for Students program is a partnership with Dominion Energy and the NEED Project and launched a pilot program with four schools, including Landstown High School in Virginia Beach, in 2015, according to the program’s news release.

Two years later, Deer Park Elementary School and Hampton High School was one of six schools and cultural organizations to get the solar program. The school or cultural institution got solar system with 1.2 kilowatts and 1 kilowatt or enough power for 15 desktop computers, (33) 10-gallon aquariums or three 42-inch plasma television.

The installation price is anywhere from $20,000-$25,000, Harris said, adding and the price can change depending on the installation site, ie. if there are additional modifications needed at the school. She also noted the energy is “looped” into the school’s energy system, meaning it does not specifically send generated power to one location.

In addition, each solar device show shows students how much electricity is generated through the solar device. Click here to see the solar information in real-time.

To be eligible for the program, the applying institutions must be a public school or museum in Virginia, have the support of the school board for the program, which includes a curriculum and teacher training, have teaching staff interested in educating students about solar energy and be able to support the installation of the solar energy system, Mary Spruill, executive director for the NEED Project, wrote in an email.

“In addition to the installation, the schools participate in a teacher workshop and receive hands-on solar kits and host a ‘Solarbration’ to celebrate energy at their school,” Spruill noted.

The applications for this statewide program will open in the summer months and the winning eight sites will receive solar energy as well as training for teaching staff and solar energy curriculum for students.

So far, 18 schools participate in the solar program. For more information about the Solar for Students program, visit the program’s website.

Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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