The Solar for PA Schools Grant Program (Solar for Schools) is a targeted state investment that would fund solar energy projects at public k-12 schools, community colleges, and career technical schools across Pennsylvania. If implemented, the project has the potential to:

Energy is one of the highest expenses for school districts in Pennsylvania. On-site solar can reduce those energy costs, potentially saving Pennsylvania school districts hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. These savings make solar a crucial tool in combatting underfunding that affects rural, urban, and suburban schools across the Commonwealth; schools could use money they save on utilities to fund other needs, like repairs, or to save taxpayers money.

The construction of solar projects would create family-sustaining jobs in communities across the Commonwealth. Kids would be able go to schools powered by solar arrays built by their parents and neighbors, seeing the impact of union jobs and clean energy on their lives. At the same time, we could decrease our reliance on fossil fuels and reduce pollution, benefitting the environment.

Investing in solar energy is a blue-green cause: it unites labor and environmental interests to create family-sustaining jobs, helps facilitate PA’s transition to clean energy, and save schools money. Support for Solar for Schools is bipartisan and diverse, including labor, environmental, educational, and industry groups. From the Evangelical Environmentalist Network to the PA Building Trades, organizations across the Commonwealth are putting their full weight behind the legislation.

Using a combination of state dollars and federal funding available through the Inflation Reduction Act, the cost to schools is minimal, and the projects would bring federal funds back to Pennsylvania. Now is the time to incentivize solar adoption, meet our climate goals, and support our public schools!


How can I help?



How is this funded?

The Solar for PA Schools Grant Program would fund 50% of the cost of project construction using state funds. Federal money from the Inflation Reduction Act would cover 30-50% of the remaining installation costs, with school districts responsible for 0-20%, plus operation and maintenance costs.

What kind of savings can schools expect?

Every solar project is different: some schools have large roofs, some have small roofs, some have available land for ground-mount systems, and some have no land at all. Still, forward-thinking schools that have gone solar are reaping tremendous financial (and educational) benefits:

  • Midd-west School District in Middleburg, PA installed 5,130 solar panels on 10 acres at their Middleburg campus and the West Snyder Elementary School in 2020, reducing their annual $420,000 electrical bill by about $145,000. They expect to save $9 million over 40 years!
  • Steelton-Highspire, an urban school district located in Steelton, PA, installed a ground-mounted solar system in 2022 which offsets 100% of the district’s annual consumption of electric energy for its two school buildings. The district expects to save $1.6M over 20 years!
  • The Batesville School District in Arkansas became the first in that state to go solar in 2018. Their District initially estimated savings of $2 million over two decades, but rising energy costs doubled that figure to $4 million in savings! Batesville was able to use these savings to increase teacher salaries. Teacher base pay went from around $30,000 to more than $40,000, enabling the district to attract teachers despite a statewide shortage, and without seeking additional tax dollars.
  • Orange County Public Schools in Virginia recently installed panels at seven schools. The panels now provide 91% of electric use, saving them about $130,000 a year. They project savings of $9.5 million over 35 years!
  • The Pittsburg Unified School District in California installed solar arrays at 14 of its school campuses. 63% of district’s total energy consumption is now provided by these installations, including 90% of their electricity needs. The solar installations are now saving the district $1 million per year in energy costs, with an expected lifetime savings of over $11 million!

What’s the status of the bill?

The bill has been approved by the House and Senate with significant bipartisan support. It now awaits the Governor's signature to become law!

Coalition Partners

Support for Solar for Schools is bipartisan and diverse, including labor, environmental, educational, and industry groups. Organizations across the Commonwealth are putting their full weight behind the legislation. The following organizations have supported for Solar for Schools through the legislative process:

  • Pennsylvania AFL-CIO
  • Pennsylvania Building & Construction Trades Council
  • Philadelphia AFL-CIO
  • Allegheny County Labor Council
  • LIUNA Mid-Atlantic
  • IBEW Mid-Atlantic
  • IBEW Local 98
  • Operating Engineers Local 542
  • Operating Engineers Local 66
  • IUPAT DC21 (Painters and Allied Trades)
  • American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania (AFT-PA)
  • AFT Local 2026 (Community College of Philadelphia)
  • Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania
  • Sierra Club Pennsylvania
  • PennFuture
  • PennEnvironment
  • Sunrise Movement
  • Evangelical Environment Network
  • Vote Solar
  • Pennsylvania Audubon Council
  • PA Clean Air Council
  • Moms Clean Air Force
  • Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA)
  • The School District of Philadelphia
  • McClure Company
  • Generation 180
  • Philadelphia Solar Energy Association
  • Solar States
  • EbonySuns Enterprises
  • POWER Interfaith
  • Pennsylvania Stands Up 
  • Hunting Park Community Solar Initiative
  • Climate Witness Project


2023 Solar for Schools Tour

November 9: Homer-Center School District in Indiana County

  • Rep. Fiedler was joined by state Rep. Jim Struzzi, officials from the Pennsylvania Solar Center, the PA Building Trades, LIUNA Mid-Atlantic, IBEW, and the Operating Engineers for a tour of Homer-Center School District.
  • District officials are interested in pursuing a solar array to potentially offset 100% of their electricity usage and showed visitors the land that could be used for a ground-mount array.
  • Superintendent Ralph Cecere is hopeful that “over a 25-year period, there could be a savings of roughly $4 million.”
  • Read more here.

April 19: Midd-West School District in Snyder County

  • Rep. Fiedler toured Midd-West High School’s solar array with state Sen. Lynda Schlegel Culver; state Rep. David H. Rowe; Michael Ford, secretary-treasurer of the PA Building and Construction Trades Council; Katie Blume, political and legislative director of Conservation Voters for PA; and Midd-West School District Superintendent Joe Stroup.
  • Midd-West High School has a solar array that provides nearly all of the district’s energy and creates educational opportunities for students. On the tour, Fiedler visited elementary students who have used the solar panels to learn about energy transfer and part in science experiments such as roasting marshmallows using power from the school’s solar array. Sheep maintain the grass around their solar panels.
  • Watch more here.

April 25: Steelton-Highspire School District in Dauphin County

  • Hosted by Generation 180, Rep. Fiedler was joined by state Rep. Dave Madsen, House Democratic Appropriations Chair Jordan Harris, Kevin Busher from the PA School Boards Association, and more.
  • Steelton-Highspire School District unveiled their solar array in 2022.
  • “Our solar energy project directly offsets 100% of the district’s electric energy use. Utilizing solar to support our Clean School Bus initiative of seven electric school buses will continue the school districts mission to reduce our carbon footprint as well as continue to offset daily expenditures.” said Steelton-Highspire School District Superintendent Mick Iskric.
  • Read the full release.

May 9: Freedom High School in Northampton County

  • Rep. Fiedler was joined by Rep. Steve Samuelson for a tour of Freedom High School’s solar array.
  • They were joined by school officials and educators including Maureen, who runs the STEM program at the School District. She spoke about how important it is for young students to see solar panels and make connections to concepts they study in school. Meanwhile, high school students are studying sustainability.
  • Mark Stein, Director of Facilities at Bethlehem School District shared that solar helped reduce Bethlehem’s energy costs from 4.5 million per year to around 2 million per year.

June 1: Cumberland Valley High School in Cumberland County

  • Rep. Fiedler was joined by state Sen. Greg Rothman and school administrators for a tour of Cumberland Valley High School’s solar array.
  • The school district gets some of their electricity from solar panels that cover a large hill next to the school. It has resulted in increased predictability of energy costs.
  • Watch a video on the tour.


“Representative Fiedler’s Solar for Schools legislation will create good, family-sustaining jobs for Pennsylvanians across the commonwealth,” said Rob Bair, president of the Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council. “Further, the legislation would save both school districts and taxpayers money. It’s a win-win. The PA Building Trades is glad to see this legislation progress through the PA House.”

“We’re completely in line with our friends in organized labor in the belief that we can grow our economy, create union jobs, and meet our climate goals,” said Katie Blume, political and legislative director for Conservation Voters of Pa. “There might be disagreement on some of those fine details, but we absolutely reject the idea that we have a binary choice between economic and job growth, and protecting the environment.” 

“This project is a prime example of making sure that we’re doing all that we can to return as much money back to the classrooms as possible while also being concerned about the kind of environment and planet that we leave for our children," said House Appropriations Chair Jordan Harris on the Steelton-Highspire School District’s solar array.

“All that savings, what we’re trying to do is get more funding to offset our expenses and get more programming for students,” said Mick Iskric, Steelton-Highspire superintendent. “The more money I save, the more support I can get directly into the classroom.” 

“We can move most of our schools to net zero. Imagine the savings over 30 years. We have an opportunity to get our students in front of green energy, they can have access to watching the building trades install it, we can create family-sustaining jobs,” said Rob Bair, president of the Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council.

“Solar-generated electricity is already the cheapest electricity in history, and in states that support the transition to solar, school districts and public universities are already benefiting from adopting solar technology,” Sens. Vincent Hughes and Carolyn Comitta wrote in a Senate companion co-sponsorship memo. “With the savings, local governments can reduce the tax burden, schools can invest in more teachers, and universities can reduce tuition costs.” 

“We are proud to support Representative Fiedler’s Solar for Schools bill because it takes steps to protect the health of students, educators and staff in schools, and the health of the public at large; it helps lessen our dependence on fossil fuels to ensure our air is clean and our water is pure; and it will create family-sustaining, good-paying union jobs for those installing, retrofitting, repairing and maintaining solar energy projects for our school buildings,” said Arthur G. Steinberg, president of AFT Pennsylvania.

“The Solar for Schools Grant Program is a critical piece of legislation that provides us with a chance to invest in our aging school buildings -- while supporting and sustaining good-paying, clean-energy union jobs. With bipartisan support, this bill would have an impact for all Pennsylvanians, and on behalf of 700,000 workers, we encourage the legislature to pass it,” said Angela Ferritto, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President.

"The laborers' union appreciates the opportunity to partner with Representative Fiedler on this legislation. It will not only help schools to reduce energy costs, but it will also help to set the standard for solar energy construction jobs,” said Tony Seiwell, Business Manager for the Laborers’  District Council of Eastern PA. “We have always believed that jobs in renewable energy can and should be well-paid, family sustaining jobs that provide health and retirement benefits, hire workers from the local community, and invest in local apprenticeship and training programs.”

"Solar energy is a cornerstone of solving the climate crisis and realizing a more just society," Corby said. "Solar’s unique ability to shift power, literally and figuratively, can lower the cost of living, create good local jobs, reduce health-harming pollution and build a brighter, more resilient future for generations to come,” said Elowyn Corby, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for Vote Solar.

“Bringing solar energy to educational facilities will do more than just save money on costs and taxes; it will bring the technology that will power tomorrow right to the students who can learn from, use and seek careers in it,” said Rep. Dave Madsen, D-Dauphin. “As we look toward a greener, more energy efficient future, we need to give our next generation the ability to use and improve upon solar energy.”

“Solar for Schools is an incredibly timely piece of legislation with the planet in ecological turmoil. The passage of the Solar for Schools legislation would provide a teachable moment for the commonwealth’s 1.7 million K-12 students that their planet and futures matter and are worth fighting for,” said T.J. Lepera, IBEW 98 Political Director.

“As a traditionally underfunded school district in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, our school district looks for little wins that will allow us to drive the maximum amount of funds to our most important resource, the students. A solar renewable energy project was and continues to be that win,” said Mick Iskric, Steelton-Highspire superintendent.