Solar panels capturing sunlight and generating clean energy. A diverse group of onlookers, including children, observes the panels, symbolizing the transition to sustainable energy sources.

G.E.T. Solar Schools

With electricity prices up 40-50 percent over the past two years, more and more schools are taking power into their own hands. Solar power, to be exact.

About 5 percent of Pennsylvania schools have already gone solar, offsetting anywhere between 65% to 110% percent of their previous energy costs per year. Some schools have even eliminated their energy bills altogether and receive revenue for excess energy through net metering. These schools are reinvesting those energy cost savings back into the classroom.

For Pennsylvania schools who haven’t flipped the switch just yet, the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) should make the math of going solar even more attractive. Many schools can go solar with no money down by partnering with developers eligible for the tax benefits that have increased with the Act and who can pass along those savings to schools.

With this arrangement, a third-party developer will own the solar system on the school property and charge a dramatically reduced electricity price to the school, providing a win-win for all parties involved and saving schools thousands to millions of dollars over the lifetime of the solar system — which could in turn fund student enrichment programs or teacher raises.

In addition, the IRA may allow tax-exempt entities like schools to receive a direct payment for purchasing solar since they cannot take the tax benefits themselves. There are also additional bonuses for schools located in low-income communities and for solar equipment made and installed with US labor provisions.

Apply to get solar today through our GET Solar Schools program!

We encourage any school to apply and get a free solar estimate by filling out the simple pre-qualification survey below (under #1) or complete the application form found here and email it to the Director of Programming, Leo Kowalski at leo@pasolarcenter.org.

We guide your organization through four steps to complete your solar installation, throughout which we serve as a trusted partner and steward. We will do the heavy lifting so that your organization or business can dedicate your time and resources to best serve your mission.

1.) Basic Solar Feasibility – Pre-qualification Survey

Fill out the pre-screening form below and we will let you know if your property is a good candidate for solar and a good fit for the GET Solar program. We will also be able to answer any of your questions about the process of going solar generally and as part of our program. The GET Solar team provides a high-level design and analysis of your property’s solar opportunity. We estimate the potential production of a solar installation as well as the costs and benefits. We provide basic solar education; discuss the process of going solar; and identify basic financing strategies, including existing federal tax benefits, available grants, and loans. Once we complete this preliminary feasibility study, we will also need a complete, recent copy of your electricity bill.

2.) Request for Proposals (RFP)

The GET Solar team solicits design proposals from vetted, regional solar developers through an unbiased, competitive bidding process. The GET Solar team works with you to compile necessary documentation and engages directly with solar developers on your behalf, from organizing site visits to compiling submitted proposals. We solicit and organize the proposals so that they can be reviewed in an apples-to-apples fashion.

3.) Review and Compare Proposals

The GET Solar team helps you review the proposals you received through the RFP, providing education and support in understanding the opportunities being presented. As an unbiased consultant, we ensure you have the tools and knowledge to make the best decision for your organization, but do not influence the selection process.

4.) Financing and Implementation Support

Once your organization has selected the solar developer/proposal that best suits your organization’s needs, the GET Solar team works with you to develop a comprehensive financing strategy. We can assist your organization in identifying grants and funding opportunities while connecting you with lending organizations or financial partners. While we remain a collaborator through the contract and installation of the system, the selected solar developer becomes an invaluable partner in assisting your organization to maximize the value of your solar, including setting up a plan to commodify your Solar Renewable Energy Credits (S-RECS) and providing an operations and maintenance plan to protect your solar asset.

View our Webinars to Learn More

Join an upcoming monthly GET Solar informational webinar and workshop. Check out our Events page to learn more.
View a previously recorded GET Solar webinar:

The PA Solar Center recorded this webinar on Thursday, September 14, 2023, which discusses why it is a good time to go solar, provides information about the GET Solar initiative, and takes a cursory look at the financing tools and resources available to Pennsylvania organizations pursuing solar electricity. By taking advantage of tax benefits at the federal and state level, as well as various grant and loan programs, organizations can recoup much of their initial investment back in year one and/or prorate their investment out over a number of years. In C-PACE eligible counties, solar costs can be bundled with other infrastructure upgrades and be financed as a special tax assessment with no up-front costs and no effect on an organization’s line of credit.

 


Solar Example: The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) successfully went solar last year through the GET Solar program. It will save them an estimated $750,000 in energy costs over the next 28 years. The best part? Thanks to a specialized and simple financing package, CCAC didn’t have to put any money down for the project!