The NEED Project and Pacific Gas and Electric Company:

Celebrating over ten years of educational partnerships!

Brother and sister show off their solar-powered fan at a 2006 Solar Schools event at Cal Expo.

Current educational programs include:

PG&E Energy Academies

To prepare the next generation of Californian's workforce for successful careers in the energy sector and meet the growing needs for a skilled workforce, PG&E partnered with the California Department of Education (CDE) to create the PG&E Energy Academies, an in-school training program focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
PG&E established this first-of-its-kind training program, in partnership with CDE, as a three-year program for students in grades 10-12. The first Energy Academies were launched in 2010 at five high schools within our service area.

Energy Academy schools receive PG&E grants, customized professional development workshops and access to education, industry and government experts to assist in curriculum development. Starting in 2014, all 11th grade juniors in the program also received a paid summer internship opportunity at PG&E.

Bright Minds Scholarships

Each year, through the Bright Minds scholarship program, PG&E awards ten renewable scholarships of up to $20,000 per year for up to five years and 90 one-time $2,000 scholarships. Over the past three years, PG&E has awarded nearly $3 million in Bright Minds scholarships to high school and current college students and veterans, many of whom will be the first in their family to attend college.

The program has become increasingly competitive, with thousands of applicants each year. The scholarship is open to all majors but a preference is given to students in STEM majors. In selecting scholarship recipients, PG&E looks for students who:
• Demonstrate academic achievement
• Have a financial need (students are required to apply to FAFSA
• Exhibit personal or community leadership

Solar Suitcases

PG&E is proud to sponsor a program to provide 100 Solar Suitcases to Northern and Central California high schools. In the coming months, we will deliver these portable, renewable energy units that not only give students the opportunity to learn about clean power, but provide hands-on experience creating renewable energy.

Solar and renewable power is vital to California's sustainable future, as well as the rest of the world. If your high school is chosen to receive a solar suitcase, you could also be selected to hand-deliver one of four solar suitcases to an orphanage, school or medical clinic in Kenya.

Past educational programs include:

Solar Schools Photovoltaic System Installations

Between 2004 and 2009,120 schools received a 1-kilowatt photovoltaic system that converts sunlight into electric power. Included in the package is an online monitoring tool that provides real-time data on the system’s activity and the amount of electricity generated.
These schools also receive the specialized curriculum package funded through the program, teacher training, and were eligible to receive a “Bright Ideas Grants”.
These schools still use their solar photovoltaic installations as a teaching tool. Visit the schools online at our Solar Schools Installations page.
The PG&E Solar Schools Guide has lessons and research activities for schools to utilize the solar installations near them and throughout the PG&E Solar Schools network.

Solar Schools Program “Bright Ideas Grants”

Beginning in 2004, the Bright Ideas Grant program provided individual grants of up to $10,000 to K-12 teachers and schools throughout Central and Northern California. Millions of dollars helped thousands of teachers reach tens of thousands of students and their families with fun and meaningful lessons and resources designed to teach about solar energy, energy conservation, and more. Here is a list of the winners of the final round: the 2014 Bright Ideas Grants.

Solar Schools Program Teacher Workshops

The Solar Schools program provided well over 100 one-day workshops to K-12 teachers from Fort Bragg down to Santa Maria and everywhere in between! Registration was free and teachers were provided hands-on energy kits and the training needed to used them effectively in their classroom. Additional special two-day advanced workshops were also provided on advanced topics like wind energy at UC Davis and Nuclear power workshops held at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.
Looking for great NEED energy workshops? Visit the NEED Project Events Calendar!