K-12 Solar Schools

The K-12 Solar Schools program turns school buildings into hands-on science experiments, helping teachers to instruct students about science, math, technology, the environment, and other important topics. Grants support the installation of 1 kW photovoltaic (PV) systems throughout Illinois at institutions serving grades K-12. Although each system is relatively small, students see first-hand how sunlight is converted into electricity. Online monitoring of real-time electricity generation is included in the grant. Grantees receive assistance to coordinate system installation as well as curricular support.

Visit Illinois Solar Schools and Illinois Wind Schools to see real-time data from participants and learn more about our efforts to educate the next generation about renewable energy.


  • Public school that provides continuous educational services to K-12 students; or
  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is either a private school or other educational organization that provides continuous educational services to K-12 students

ALL applicants are required to provide a letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) confirming their Employer Identification Number (EIN). 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations must additionally provide an IRS Tax Determination Letter, which may also contain the EIN information.


  • Hold a “Solarbration” and make a commitment to teach about solar and renewable energy in the classroom
  • Educate the community about solar and renewable energy
  • Are wholly owned by an eligible applicant and cannot include ownership by private investors or commercial interests


  • Have a suitable site for proper PV installation and operation
  • Co-fund a minimum of 10% of the PV system installation costs
  • Agree to implement online monitoring of system performance via the Illinois Solar Schools and Illinois Wind Schools website
  • Keep the installation and monitoring system operational; Grantee is responsible for any costs related to maintenance, repair, or relocation
  • Grantee must retire any environmental attributes (i.e. renewable energy credits, emission offsets, etc.) associated with the project
  • Installation locations must be highly visible with the final location approved by the Foundation

Funding Guidelines

Eligible applicants may apply for up to $6,400 or 90% of the system and its installation costs, whichever is less.

The chart below shows how grants will be paid assuming a final project cost of $7,111. Any donations or discounts for equipment, hardware, or labor on behalf of the installer will be calculated as a reduction in the final project cost and may reduce the grant award from ICECF.

Applicants may be awarded a grant at a lower amount than requested.

Funding Source Examples:
Final Project Cost
ICECF Grant Award (90%)
School Pays (10%)
School Fundraiser ($711 raised)
$711 (raised)
Solar Star Foundation grant
($711 grant) *
$711 (SSF grant)
Donation or pledges from community ($711 donated)
$711 (donated)
Installer donates money or provides a discount (-$711)
Installer donates equipment or labor

* The Solar Star Foundation grant may be up to $1,000. $711 was used as an example for consistency.


  • February 23, 2023 – CLOSED

Application Process

Complete the online application, the required attachments, and submit.

Applications will be accepted only if filled out and submitted by the owner of the proposed project. Applications must be completed by a teacher if application is for a K-12 school.

Required attachments:

  • Please download, complete, and save the K-12 Solar Schools Form
  • Photos of proposed PV system location
  • Organization’s summary budget for the year (limit to a few pages)
  • Internal Revenue Service Documentation Confirming your Employer Identification Number (EIN), usually a 147c letter*
  • Internal Revenue Service Tax Determination Letter (for 501(c)(3)s)
  • IL Charitable Organization Annual Report (for 501(c)(3)s)

A confirmation e-mail is sent after an application is received.

The Foundation may follow up with additional questions for applicants.

Applicants will be notified of the Foundation’s decision approximately three months after the application deadline.

* Please ensure that this is a letter from the Federal IRS, such as the 147c. If you do not have this letter, contact the IRS at 800.829.4933 and request a faxed letter. Keep in mind this usually takes 10-14 business days to acquire. The Foundation may deny your application if the correct letter is not received.

Award Process

The Foundation’s K-12 Solar Schools application review process takes approximately three months. The grant award process is competitive. Some projects may be awarded at lower levels than requested; others may be declined altogether.