OMAHA — Nebraska Solar Schools recently announced it has been awarded $31,250 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for a pilot project within its Solar Energy Education and Development Program: 100 Solar Energy Kits for 100 Nebraska Schools. 

Nebraska Solar Schools is a program of the nonprofit Nebraskans for Solar. The project is one of the 117 projects receiving $19,501,444 in grant awards from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year. Of these, 85 were new applications and 32 are carry-over projects.

The purpose of Nebraska Solar Schools’ Solar Energy Education and Development Program is to provide resources for K-12 teachers to facilitate integration of more solar energy education into their classrooms or after-school programs. Resources are also provided for those who want to install a photovoltaic (PV) system at their school.

The focus of the new pilot project is on K-12 schools in Nebraska towns and cities that have developed or plan to develop solar projects, including rooftop solar, solar farms or other installations. Solar communities provide educational opportunities such as classroom presentations and workshops, field trips and project development in collaboration with solar experts at local utilities, solar businesses and community colleges that offer renewable energy training programs for example. 

The cities and towns in the pilot project’s focus group include but are not limited to: Ainsworth, Aurora, Central City, Chadron, Fremont, Gothenburg, Grand Island, Hastings, Hemingford, Kearney, Lexington, Lincoln, Loup City, Norfolk, Omaha/Fort Calhoun, O’Neill, Pawnee City, Schuyler, Scottsbluff, South Sioux City, Superior, Venango/Grant and York.

The National Energy Education Development (NEED) Solar Energy Kits’ cross-discipline lesson plans, projects and activities support Nebraska Science Standards. The four grade-level kits contain all the materials needed for completing each unit, providing an easier and less time-consuming way for teachers to integrate renewable energy education into their curriculum planning. Almost all the materials in the kits are reusable, making them cost-effective.

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