K-12 Solar Schools

The Illinois Solar Schools initiative, launched in 2006, teaches the value of renewable energy and energy efficiency to K-12 students. By turning school buildings into hands-on science experiments, the program teaches students how their everyday actions can impact the environment.

The program promotes the installation of 1 kW photovoltaic (PV) systems at educational institutions serving grades K-12 throughout Illinois. Although each system is relatively small, students see first-hand on a daily basis how sunlight is converted to electricity. To enhance the educational value of the system, online monitoring to provide real-time data on the amount of electricity generated is included in the grant.

Grantees will receive assistance to coordinate system installation and integrate specialized curricula about renewable energy and energy efficiency into the classroom.

Please see How to Apply to learn about preparing your application and to get the latest information on deadlines. Visit http://www.illinoissolarschools.org/ to see real-time data from participants, and learn more about our efforts to educate the next generation of environmental, energy, and science thinkers.

Application Deadlines:Applications are due February 20, 2014

Review Process:

3 months. The Foundation evaluates applications against the funding criteria below. Within two months of the above deadline, the Foundation's Grant Committee will award grants to some or all of the applicants. The Foundation's review process is competitive.

Available Support:Up to $7,000 or 90% of the system and its installation costs, whichever is less. The Foundation reserves the right to change funding levels and guidelines.

Restrictions: The project must be wholly owned by an eligible applicant and cannot include ownership by private investors or commercial interests.



To be eligible for consideration under the Solar Schools Program, the applicant organization must:

  • be a school or other educational organization that provides continuous educational services to K-12 students
  • have taken steps to make the facility energy efficient (through energy efficiency lighting or other upgrades)
  • have a suitable site for proper PV installation and operation
  • co-fund a minimum of 10% of the PV system installation costs
  • hold a "Solarbration" and make a commitment to teach about solar energy in the classroom
  • commit to educate the community about solar energy
  • agree to implement online monitoring of system performance via the Illinois Solar Schools/Illinois Wind Schools website