School Power Naturally

School Power...NaturallySM is an innovative program from NYSERDA that is designed to educate New Yorkers about energy, and, in particular, the role solar electric power – photovoltaics, or PV – and wind power generation can play in providing clean energy for our homes, schools, and workplaces.

All schools in New York can participate in School Power...Naturally by using the curricular materials and data – they are available on our website to anyone.

Solar Program Features

Education is the heart of this program. We’ve teamed up with professional curriculum writers to create multi-disciplinary materials to meet NYS education standards. The solar lesson plans for grades 5 through 12 describe creative, interactive ways for students to learn more about the sun and solar energy. The materials are downloadable and can be found in the In the Classroom section of this website.

Students in fifty schools across the state are learning hands-on how PV works. Each of these Participating Schools has a 2 kilowatt (kW) grid-tied PV system installed in most cases on its roof, as well as additional features to link the hardware on the roof with lessons in the classroom.

Students are discovering not only that a 2 kW system can meet about 25 percent to 30 percent of the electric needs of a typical home, but also how solar electricity works, and why it is an important option for producing clean, reliable and inexhaustible energy.

As another feature of this project, schools have been outfitted with instrumentation and educational software that provides computerized, up-to-the-minute performance dataLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., with information posted on this website (data is posted on the website in 15-minute averages) so that each PV school can monitor the performance of its system and the PV systems of other schools.

The most exciting feature of the program is that any school in New York can log on and use the data from any or all of the 50 schools, either alone, or in conjunction with the lesson plans available on this website, In the Classroom.

It is all part of NYSERDA's commitment to help New Yorkers learn how to use the power of the sun at school and at home.

School Power...Naturally is a multi-year effort. The 50 schools chosen to receive solar energy systems were competitively selected based on criteria that included a statewide geographical distribution mix, involving a mix of urban, suburban, and rural demographics. A large emphasis was placed on the action plan that was submitted by each entrant, showing how the school proposed to incorporate the solar energy systems into educational planning and community outreach. Eligible schools were limited to those contributing to the State's System Benefits Charge on the transmission and distribution of electricity throughout the State.

Schools who wish to install solar equipment are eligible for funding under our PV incentive program.

  • A broad range of age-appropriate and multidisciplinary PV curricular materials for a variety of subjects (including social studies, math, chemistry and earth science) that meet specific NYS educational requirements; these materials are downloadable from and integrate use of the data from the solar panels and weather station
  • Downloadable performance data from the program Web site for each individual school as well as all 50 schools in aggregate
  • The performance data comes from a 2 kW PV solar energy system at each of the 50 schools and uses a data acquisition system including weather instrumentation and recording equipment to record performance data from the PV System
  • In addition to the main curricular materials on the web site, lesson plans are provided for use with small PV demonstration kits that `you assemble yourself
  • Curricular materials and resources for wind