Intuit Launches Fund to Back Solar Power and Education
Intuit Inc., the worldwide financial technology platform behind TurboTax, Credit Karma, QuickBooks, and Mailchimp, has introduced the Coalfield Solar Fund.
Intuit has teamed up with The National Energy and Education Development (NEED) Project, a non-profit educational organisation, and Secure Solar Futures, a provider of on-site clean energy and educational programmes to schools and colleges, to establish the fund. Through this collaboration, Intuit aims to develop fresh career paths and educational prospects in the solar industry while simultaneously lowering carbon emissions.
The Coalfield Solar Fund represents a pioneering alliance that offers multiyear grants to support the introduction of solar power, job training, and practical learning opportunities in the solar energy sector for communities in Virginia and West Virginia.
Intuit is leveraging the success of its earlier cooperation with Secure Solar Futures on a solar initiative in Wise, Virginia, a location for the Intuit Prosperity Hub, with the Coalfield Solar Fund.
The initiative offers grant funding incentives to public K-12 and community colleges to obtain solar power systems and equipment without any upfront cost. This also helps equip local workforces with valuable and essential abilities for careers in clean energy.
The Coalfield Solar Fund generates in-classroom educational opportunities focused on STEM and clean energy, together with hands-on learning programmes for high school students, supported by Intuit's financial literacy and design thinking tools. Additionally, the programme provides economic savings on schools' energy bills.
Intuit is a founding partner and primary funding sponsor, with grants to be allocated by The NEED Project. Awards will vary from $50,000 to $150,000 per campus for qualifying K–12 public school and community college applicants who are successful in deploying solar power solutions and preparing local students for renewable energy careers.
“As part of our Climate Positive Commitment, Intuit has teamed up with Secure Solar Futures and The NEED Project to sustainably power prosperity in the coalfields regions of Virginia and West Virginia that have been powering the US for hundreds of years,” said Debbie Lizt, Head of Sustainability at Intuit. “We’re excited to help create new career pathways and educational opportunities in underserved communities while also helping reduce carbon emissions in the transition to 21st century energy sources.”
To be eligible for the grant scheme, applicants must agree to acquire on-site solar power systems through a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Secure Solar Futures and collaborate with the company to establish and operate a programme that trains local solar installers.
“One of the best ways to bring solar power to a community is to start with public schools and community colleges,” said Ryan McAllister, CEO of Secure Solar Futures. “Schools have large, flat rooftops suitable to host larger solar arrays and can greatly benefit from the financial savings and educational opportunities that solar power offers. Best of all, schools and colleges can now go solar much more affordably than in the past thanks to newly available PPA structures.”
To be considered for the initial round of funding, applicants must complete a brief notice of interest form on the programme's website, www.coalfieldsolarfund.org, by April 17, 2023. Secure Solar Futures will then review each application to evaluate solar feasibility. If selected for the final round, additional application procedures must be submitted by July 1, 2023. The awards will be announced at the beginning of the new school year in the autumn. Applicants who are unsuccessful in the first phase will be put on a waiting list for the next rounds of funding.
Two informative webinars are scheduled for April 6 and April 12, 2023, to assist interested schools and colleges in learning more about the programme. Applications, webinar information and signups, as well as additional information about the Coalfield Solar Fund, are available on the programme's website: www.coalfieldsolarfund.org.