NRDC Launches the Solar Schools Revolution


The politics in Washington, DC today—the shutdown, the debt ceiling, the finger pointing—it’s enough to make even a policy wonk like me say “yuck!” This is America. We’re a can-do country, but it doesn’t seem like this Congress can do anything.

We can do something, though. Something upbeat and local and smart: put solar on our kids’ schools. That’s why next week, NRDC is launching Solar Schools: Powering Classrooms, Empowering Communities. Our plan, ultimately, is to help every school in the country that wants solar to get it. But to get going, we need your help. To raise money and make sure that other people are as excited about solar schools as we are, we’re starting by crowdfunding our pilot project.

Even as an increasing number of schools nationwide adopt solar, too many schools and communities sit on the sidelines without any idea how to get in the game. The solar development process can be overwhelming. Where do you even start? Who do you ask for help?

That’s why we developed Solar Schools. We’re building an online platform that breaks down the process of getting solar on schools into bite-size, achievable chunks and helps communities connect with the experts and organizations that can support them each step of the way. Solar Schools will provide school communities with the training, tools and expert mentors they need to make clean energy happen. Think of us as a mix of TurboTax—walking people through a cumbersome process—and—bringing together communities and the experts who can support them.

To help ramp up what we hope will soon be a national project, we’re starting next week with a pilot supported by our crowdfunding campaign. The pilot will help bring solar to a handful of schools across the country as we road-test and refine our online platform and tap the excitement that exists for school solar projects.

Like many crowdfunding campaigns, Solar Schools will offer excellent perks to contributors: the opportunity to vote for pilot locations or to nominate your own community; different cool solar gadgets that can give your family first-hand experience with solar; and, if you want to give big, you can even come to our first training.

I hope you share our enthusiasm about Solar Schools and will chip in—and tell all your friends about it, too. Empower our communities and kids with solar today, and who knows where they’ll take us tomorrow.