How to Use SFF Funding For Your School

Build a brighter future for your school and community with solar energy! Adding solar panels to your school building or even the whole district can bring significant cost savings to your bottom line. We can help with solar funding for schools!

Educational institutions can apply for a direct grant sub-award to offset up to 20% of total solar project cost from the Appalachian Solar Finance Fund to build your next solar project. The SFF also supports roof repair funding for buildings needing cost assistance for pre-solar roof maintenance or replacement – up to 20% of the total roof repair cost, with a cap of $20,000 per project.

Get inspired! How could a solar project help your school? 

  • Enjoy long-term energy cost savings
  • Protect your budget against rising utility costs
  • Build climate resilience
  • Meet organizational sustainability goals
  • Be a renewable energy leader in your community
  • Teach students the importance of energy sustainability
  • Build a student career pathway with local solar workforce training

Solar Financing is available to make your project shine

The SFF has built a solution to cover a short-term solar financing need created by the 2022 federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA has established for the first time a direct payment option that allows tax-exempt entities to access the value of the federal energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This tax credit offsets 30% or more of a solar project’s total cost! It’s great news for schools and public institutions seeking to go solar. But it also means that many schools and public institutions may need short-term bridge financing to cover the time gap between a solar project’s construction and the federal government’s eventual remittance of the ITC.

The SFF can help support these emerging solar financing needs by providing short-term low- to zero-interest bridge loans for impactful solar projects via our partner organization Invest Appalachia (IA). The SFF also can award sub-grants to offset interest and fees accrued on ITC bridge loans issued by traditional lenders for nonprofit and public solar projects.
The SFF and IA have developed a flexible suite of solar credit enhancements, including interest-rate buydowns and loan guarantees, to help leverage large-scale repayable investment into promising solar projects that face financing obstacles related to risk migration, cost of capital, or timing of investment. These innovative financial

tools are designed to absorb risk and/or cost to help secure the overall capital stack for an impactful project.

Apply for funding or technical support for your solar project 

If you have a BIG dream, let us know! The SFF can help get solar funding for schools. If you need help getting your solar project off the ground by unlocking funding and financing opportunities for high-need, high-impact projects, please contact us.

With so many funding and financing solutions, why not dream up a solar project for your school today? The SFF accepts applications on a rolling basis. Get all the details here


Wise and Lee County Public Schools are dedicated to uplifting and teaching students in Southwest Virginia. In 2022, the SFF granted a combined $125,000 for solar installations across both districts. With funding from the SFF, over 3.27 Megawatts of solar energy has been deployed among 11 public school campuses in Wise and Lee counties. Collectively, these new rooftop solar installations are projected to save local taxpayers more than $12 MILLION in lifetime energy costs.

Along with creating a lasting impact on Southwest Virginia’s economy and environment, these new solar projects are producing learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom. Thanks to funding from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, the SFF was able to award an additional $75,000 toward paid on-the-job apprenticeships for local students, with additional training and certifications provided by Mountain Empire Community College. 10 apprentices have already gained real-world career experience and college credit through the program, with a second apprenticeship cohort planned for summer 2023. Topics about solar energy will be included in school curricula in each county at no cost to the school districts.

Wise Primary School’s project was featured in this Johnson City Press article by Mike Still on October 12, 2022