Dept of Energy Announces $80M in Grants for School Energy Projects

October 28, 2022

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Energy announced more than $80M, the first tranche of funding in a $500M investment, to make clean energy improvements in K-12 public schools.  The funding originates from the Renew America’s Schools grant program created by the bipartisan infrastructure law to provide schools critical energy infrastructure upgrades. Through the grant program, DOE will fund energy and health improvements in public K-12 schools across the country. Additionally, a new DOE prize program will help resource 25 high-need school districts with the training and tools needed to improve how their schools consume energy.

DOE will encourage eligible applicants to consider projects that enable replicable and scalable impacts, create innovative, sustaining partnerships, leverage funding and economies of scale, target disadvantaged communities, improve student, teacher, and occupant health, enrich learning and growth, target schools that serve as community assets (e.g., neighborhood cooling centers or disaster recovery shelters), can be completed quickly, and are crafted thoughtfully within the context of public-school facilities (e.g., procurement restraints, construction windows, etc.).

Potential applicants will be considered based upon the partnering LEA’s demonstrated funding need for energy improvements; whether the school serves a high percentage of students who are eligible for a free or reduced-price lunch; whether the district qualifies for REAP funding; and whether the proposal leverages private sector investment through energy-related performance contracting. The estimated period of performance for each award will be approximately 2 to 5 years in duration. 

LEAs do not have to identify a partner for this grant; the DOE is compiling a “teaming” partner list to facilitate widespread participation in this initiative. This list allows organizations with expertise in these topics to express their interest to potential districts and to explore potential partnerships.