Why Apply?

The Coalfield Solar Fund invites K-12 public schools and community colleges located in coalfield regions of Virginia and West Virginia to apply for grants to install solar energy systems on their campuses. Grantees will also enjoy solar-related educational and workforce development opportunities.

The Fund will award grants up to $150,000 on a competitive basis based on the amount of solar power that a campus installs through the program. Funding is provided by Intuit and issued by The National Energy Development Project (NEED), a nonprofit organization promoting energy literacy throughout the United States. 

Public K-12 schools and community colleges located in seven counties and one city in Southwest Virginia and 28 counties in West Virginia, all of which are defined as “energy communities” by the Inflation Reduction Act, are eligible to apply.

The Coalfield Solar Fund incentive grant program is open to schools that qualify for a solar power purchase agreement (PPA) with Secure Solar Futures. Once approved for a PPA, applicants will be eligible to apply for funds to support administrative costs, staff and teacher training, or other sustainability initiatives related to their solar effort. Final grant amounts will depend on the impact and merits of the applicants’ proposals.

Under the PPA structure, participating schools will only pay for the electricity generated by the solar equipment that Secure Solar Futures will install, own, and operate at a cost less than standard utility electricity costs.


Solar PPAs lock in long-term savings for schools and community colleges. Having confidence that power rates will remain fixed and low for 25 years allows for more accurate budget forecasts and frees up more resources for student learning.

These projects will not only provide job opportunities for people in the community, but also workforce development opportunities for the school system’s students. Through partnerships with community colleges, students can earn college credits toward a certification in electrical work, solar installation, or related fields. When projects are available, qualified students can serve as paid solar interns, learning how to install solar arrays on their own schools.

Solar arrays installed at schools are fantastic learning tools for students interested in what is now the world’s fastest-growing energy source. Secure Solar Futures, in partnership with The National Energy Education Development project (NEED), the Science Museum of Virginia, and Virginia Commonwealth University, have developed a unique educational offering for high school classes called Throwing Solar Shade® (TSS) that allows students to participate in a hands-on curriculum through NEED to conduct citizen science research.

Through Coalfield Solar Fund partner Intuit, we will offer a curriculum in financial literacy, job readiness, and design thinking.

These programs are meant to engage students in ways that challenge and grow academic and personal skills needed for success in the 21st century economy.

Coalfield communities have and will continue to serve as America’s energy capital. Meeting power needs from a greater variety of sources makes the entire power grid more resilient after disasters and more efficient by avoiding energy losses over long transmission routes. The grid of the future will be a network where consumers are producers making the whole system stronger and smarter.

The Coalfield Solar Fund enables school districts in the identified energy communities to enjoy more of the benefits of solar energy, including:

  • Cost Savings
  • Workforce Development and Job Creation
  • Learning Opportunities for Students
  • Pollution Reduction
  • Power Sector Diversification
  • Energy Independence

Solar Success Story

See how Secure Solar Future customers in the coalfield region of Southwest Virginia are already benefitting from solar power and workforce development programs.