School Power Naturally

School Power…NaturallySM is an innovative program from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) that is designed to educate New Yorkers about energy, and, in particular, the role solar electric power – photovoltaics, or PV – can play in providing clean energy for our homes, schools and workplaces.

The $2.1 million School Power…NaturallySM Program was offered to schools as part of NYSERDA’s New York Energy $martSM Schools Program. Each of 50 schools, which were competitively selected in 2003, receives a solar energy and data collection system, worth about $24,000, for a school contribution of $1,500, or over 90 percent of the cost to the school.

All schools in New York can participate in School Power…NaturallySM by using the curricular materials and data – they are available on our website to anyone.

Program Features

EDUCATION IS THE HEART OF THIS PROGRAM. We’ve teamed up with professional curriculum writers to create multi-disciplinary materials to meet NYS education standards. These lesson plans for grades 5 through 12 describe creative, interactive ways for students to learn more about the sun and solar energy. The materials are downloadable, and can be found in the In the Classroom section of this website.

Students in fifty schools across the state are learning hands-on how PV works. Each of these Participating Schools has a 2 kilowatt (kW) grid-tied PV system installed in most cases on its roof (see “On the School Roof” for a description), as well as additional features to link the hardware on the roof with lessons in the classroom.

Students are discovering not only that a 2 kW system can meet about 25 to 30 percent of the energy needs of a typical home, but also how solar electricity works, and why it is an important option for producing clean, reliable and inexhaustible energy.

As another feature of this project, schools have been outfitted with instrumentation and educational software that provides computerized, up-to-the-minute performance data, with information posted on this website (data is posted on the website in 15-minute averages –) so that each PV school can monitor the performance of its system and the PV systems of other schools.

The most exciting feature of the program is that any school in New York can log on and use the data from any or all of the fifty schools, either alone, or in conjunction with the lesson plans available on this website, In the Classroom.

This program also features community education – NYSERDA is helping the 50 schools host open houses in which members of the public can learn how they, too, can “go solar,” and in some cases even tour the installation. In addition, the “Solar Buddies’ program has each of the schools partnering with another school in its region for tours and educational activities.

It is all part of NYSERDA’s commitment to help New Yorkers learn how to use the power of the sun at school and at home.

School Power…NaturallySM is a multiyear effort intended to continue through 2006. The 50 schools chosen to receive solar energy systems were competitively selected based on criteria that included a statewide geographical distribution mix, involving a mix of urban, suburban, and rural demographics. A large emphasis was placed on the action plan that was submitted by each entrant, showing how the school proposed to incorporate the solar energy systems into educational planning and community outreach. Eligible schools were limited to those contributing to the State’s System Benefits Charge on the transmission and distribution of electricity throughout the State.

While funding is currently not available under the SchoolPowerNaturally Program, schools are eligible for funding under PON 716. Click here for more information on funding levels.

Please tour the website and all its features, and feel free to contact NYSERDA if you have more questions at: 1-866-NYSERDA.

More About School Power Naturally·Features·Partners & Contacts·News·Events·Schools Producing Data·Other NYSERDA School ProgramsOn The School Roof·Performance Data·System DescriptionIn The Classroom·Level II Lessons·Level III Lessons·Solar Kit Lessons·Lesson Review Forms·Virtual Array Tour LessonsIn The Library·Solar Education Links·General Solar Links·Other PV Data LinksIn The Community

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