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Wind for Schools FAQ

What does the program provide?
Installing a grid-connected wind turbine generator requires significant upfront system design and engineering.  The Boise State University Wind Application Center helps Idaho K-12 schools facilitate the procurement and installation of wind energy systems by providing:

  • Wind resource analysis
  • Wind turbine siting/placement
  • System design technical assistance
    • Recommended tower height (taking into account topography, local zoning regulations, wind resource, etc.)
    • Recommended wire sizes (based on distance to point of interconnection, manufacturer’s specifications, National Electric Code, etc.)
  • Utility interconnection technical assistance & guidance
  • Technical assistance in acquiring required permits (which vary by jurisdiction)
  • Limited financial assistance

What is the timeline for installing a wind turbine?
Each school’s timeline will be different. The process should take approximately 3-6 months from initial site visit to installation. The general checklist contains an outline of the steps involved.

How much will it cost the schools?
Wind Powering America (WPA) is not funding any equipment purchases.  They have helped us secure a lower price on SkyStream wind turbines from Southwest Windpower and have provided some direction regarding other sources of funding.  At Boise State, we are following up on those leads.  WPA envisions that each school would contribute at minimum $2000 per system.

In our experience the total system cost is around $17,000. The following example uses rough numbers based on our projects to date. They are representative of what future schools may expect, although exact costs will vary:

  • $4000 from school
  • $4000 donated from external foundation or grant
  • $9000 donated from community partners (school secures)

Much of the final bullet is expected to be in-kind donations of time and materials (concrete, rebar, copper, etc.). However, cash donations provide schools with more flexibility and direct support. One Idaho school has recieved more than $14,000 in cash donations – due to the hard work of a project champion. Your school can do the same.

Are additional grant funds available?
We are searching for grants to supplement the donations we have already received.  Interested schools are encouraged to be creative in fundraising also.  Local communities are a great place to start.  Other known options include:

  • Schools NOT served by Idaho Power, Avista or Rocky Mountain Power are eligible to apply
  • Perkins Grant Funds
    • The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education act of 2006 provides funding to states in order to “(help) today’s students gain the academic and technical skills and knowledge necessary for highdemand, high-wage jobs.”
    • More information can be found on Wisconsin Technical College System’s site.
  • High Schools That Work
    • A school improvement initiative originally founded by the Southern Regional Education Board.
    • Contact local representatives for more information (contact information in link).
  • Cooper-Clark Foundation
    • Foundation that’s given hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for general capital improvement.
    • No website, (303)-624-7699
  • Pepsi refresh project
    • Pepsi funding based on very vague information about your project.
    • Popular vote receives 5, 25, 50, or 250 thousand dollars.
    • Current cycle ends 4/1/2010
    • Online voting based
  • Greenest School Contest
    • Must be student applicant.
    • $3,000 to student, $500 to teacher sponsor, hybrid bus and $20,000 upgrade to school for winning.
    • Most recent cycle ended 3/8/2010
    • Online voting based.
  • Building Healthy Communities Grant Program
    • Grants are awarded to non-profits and schools looking to help develop the community.
    • Up to $2,500 can be applied for.
    • Next cycle opens May 15, 2010 and closes July 1, 2010.
    • Awards are in the form of Home Depot gift cards for purchasing materials.

What is the program’s timeline?
The target is to install wind turbines at 4-5 schools per year.

Is there a deadline for application?
No deadlines exist for applying to the program.  Simply submit an application.

Evaluation criteria include:

  • Wind resource
  • Proximity to other participating schools (i.e., we strive for geographic diversity)
  • Support from the district and school administrations
  • Level of community support
  • Rural communities are being targeted
  • Goals & educational tie-in

Will participating reduce my schools utility costs?
Yes, but not significantly.  In Idaho, we enjoy some of the lowest electricity rates in the nation.  While this is a good thing from an operational standpoint, it also increases a system’s payback period.  We are justifying these projects on education, not energy.

Do similar programs exist?
Yes, Idaho Power and Bonneville Environmental Fund co-host a program called Solar 4R Schools.

What curriculum exists?
While we are not directly involved in K-12 curriculum, we do know of several organizations which are involved.  Check their websites for more info.