Calling all schools, cultural institutions, Dominion is accepting applications for solar panels

(Southside Daily/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(Southside Daily/Courtesy of Pixabay)

Dominion Energy will accept applications for the Solar for Students program, which gives solar panels to eligible schools or cultural institutions for free starting this summer.

The company recently received a $250,000 grant for the Dominion Energy Foundation for the 2019-2020 school year.

“Dominion Energy loves helping students prepare for a bright energy future,” Bonita Harris, spokeswoman for Dominion Energy, wrote in an email. “With renewable energy a growing part of Virginia’s energy mix, Dominion Energy is dedicated to providing K-12 students with opportunities to learn about solar energy.”

The Solar for Students program is a partnership with Dominion Energy and the NEED Project and launched a pilot program with four schools, including Landstown High School in Virginia Beach, in 2015, according to the program’s news release.

Two years later, Deer Park Elementary School and Hampton High School was one of six schools and cultural organizations to get the solar program. The school or cultural institution got solar system with 1.2 kilowatts and 1 kilowatt or enough power for 15 desktop computers, (33) 10-gallon aquariums or three 42-inch plasma television.

The installation price is anywhere from $20,000-$25,000, Harris said, adding and the price can change depending on the installation site, ie. if there are additional modifications needed at the school. She also noted the energy is “looped” into the school’s energy system, meaning it does not specifically send generated power to one location.

In addition, each solar device show shows students how much electricity is generated through the solar device. Click here to see the solar information in real-time.

To be eligible for the program, the applying institutions must be a public school or museum in Virginia, have the support of the school board for the program, which includes a curriculum and teacher training, have teaching staff interested in educating students about solar energy and be able to support the installation of the solar energy system, Mary Spruill, executive director for the NEED Project, wrote in an email.

“In addition to the installation, the schools participate in a teacher workshop and receive hands-on solar kits and host a ‘Solarbration’ to celebrate energy at their school,” Spruill noted.

The applications for this statewide program will open in the summer months and the winning eight sites will receive solar energy as well as training for teaching staff and solar energy curriculum for students.

So far, 18 schools participate in the solar program. For more information about the Solar for Students program, visit the program’s website.

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John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.