menu

American-Made Challenges

 35,655

2024 Renew America's Schools Prize

Funding energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at public K-12 schools to lower energy costs and improve indoor air quality.

This challenge is closed

stage:
DOE Review Period
prize:
$6,900,000

This challenge is closed

more
Summary
Timeline
Updates12
Forum19
Teams1K
Resources
FAQ
Summary

Background

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched the $500 million Renew America’s Schools Program to promote the implementation of clean energy improvements at K-12 public schools across the country. This first-of-its-kind investment, funded by President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), aims to help school communities make energy upgrades that will decrease energy use and cost, improve indoor air quality, and foster healthier learning environments.


The Renew America’s Schools program launched its first round of funding in 2022 and has since invested $182.5 million in public school districts across America. The $4.5 million Energy CLASS Prize (2022–2024) helped Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) build capacity for energy management and prepare to implement energy-infrastructure upgrades. The $178 million Renew America’s Schools grant (2022–2024) funded clean energy and energy efficiency upgrades at over 90 school facilities in 22 states—directly benefiting more than 74,000 students and 5,000 teachers.  


The 2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize implements a prize-to-cooperative-agreement funding model to streamline the application process, expedite the award process, and provide winners earlier and more targeted support. Like the 2022 Renew America’s Schools grant, the 2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize will fund energy-efficient and clean energy infrastructure improvements at school districts across America.  The 2024 Renew America's Schools Prize application period closed on June 13, 2024.
 


Prize Overview

The  2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize, a $180 million investment in K-12 public schools across the country, was launched by DOE in March 2024 and the application period closed in June 2024. This three-phase opportunity will help districts build capacity, perform energy audits, and plan/implement energy improvement projects across a portfolio of school facilities. 

 

The 2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize consists of three phases. During Phase 1, competitors will build teams and curate lists of at least 10 schools and school facilities that demonstrate compelling need and eligibility for investment. Phase 1 winners will earn a cash prize of $300,000 and move on to Phases 2 and 3, during which they will enter into and execute Cooperative Agreements with DOE. 

 


Guidelines

Successful competitors will:

  1. Establish the need for both energy improvements and financing across the proposed portfolio.
  2. Demonstrate overall team capacity to manage projects across the portfolio.
  3. Propose a comprehensive plan for executing Phase 2 (energy auditing and design) activities.
  4. Engage in replicable, strategic partnerships to build capacity at LEAs/across the K-12 sector, while leveraging funds to enhance the impact of federal dollars.
  5. Establish a strategic approach to delivering community benefits that advance the following goals: 
    • Community and labor engagement.
    • Investing in job quality and workforce continuity.
    • Advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA).
    • Contributing to the Justice40 Initiative.

Questions?

  1. Review the official rules for the complete application process and instructions for competing. 
  2. Review the 2024 Renew America's Schools Fact Sheet (see 'Resources' tab in HeroX). 
  3. Review the 2024 Renew America's Schools Q&A Spreadsheet (see 'FAQ' tab in HeroX).
  4. Join one of the informational webinars (the same content will be shared across both webinars): 
  5. Join prize office hours:

If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please follow this HeroX page or email us directly at

Timeline
Updates12

Challenge Updates

🎒 Renew Schools Prize Submissions DUE TODAY!! 🎓

June 13, 2024, 6:15 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Don’t miss this chance to win $300K for demonstrating the need of your public K-12 school portfolio to upgrade its energy efficiency and renewable energy systems. Follow the official rules and submit to HeroX by 5 pm ET for your chance to win a $300,000 cash prize and move on to Phases 2 and 3: Cooperative Agreement. 

We highly encourage teams to start their submissions early, allowing several hours before the deadline to avoid any technical difficulties. The portal for submissions will close right at 5:00 pm ET and late submissions will not be considered. If you have any trouble accessing the system before 5 pm please email renewschoolsprize@nrel.gov.   

Again, please start your applications early in the day as the system will close at 5 pm ET and late submissions will not be considered.

We can't wait to read your submissions!


TOMORROW is Your Last Chance to Apply

June 12, 2024, 6:09 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

TOMORROW is your last chance to apply for the $6.9 million Renew America’s Schools Prize! Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of this change-making competition. 

As a reminder, the prize is seeking K-12 public schools with a demonstrated need for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades. Teams that win the $300,000 Phase 1 (Prize) will have the opportunity to enter into a cooperative agreement with the DOE. 

Ready to apply? Here’s how to get started: 

  1. Register on HeroX (click “Solve this Challenge”)
  2. Build your submission package:
    1. Technical Narrative (template provided)
    2. Energy Justice Mapping Tool Reports (template provided as needed)
    3. School Energy Assessment (SEA Form) Tool Reports (template provided)
    4. Community Benefits Plan (CBP) (template provided)
  3. Hit Submit before 5 pm ET! Late submissions will not be considered. 

Please see the official Renew Schools Prize rules for additional submission details, and explore the Resources tab to view all available resources that can help you craft your submission.  

Reach out to the prize team directly at schools@doe.gov with any further questions. Good luck! 


💡Attention All Teams!!💡Submissions are due in ONE WEEK!

June 7, 2024, 8:07 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

The deadline for submissions to the 2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize is fast approaching! Get ready to submit your reports and plans as submissions are due in ONE WEEK.  

If you haven't already, make sure to familiarize yourself with the official prize rules to ensure your submission aligns with the prize goals, requirements, and judging criteria. If you missed the informational webinars or office hours, you can catch up on the slides and recordings to ensure you're fully prepared or review the latest DOE Q&A Spreadsheet for answers to all your questions. 

Successful submission packages will include a technical narrative, Energy Justice Mapping Tool report, School Energy Assessment (SEA) Tool report, and a Community Benefits Plan. Templates for these components are provided to assist you in crafting your submission. 

For any questions regarding the rules or submission process, consult the resources available on the FAQ page. If you still need assistance, don't hesitate to reach out to schools@doe.gov to connect with prize organizers. 

We're eager to review your submissions on HeroX


Submissions to the 2024 Renew Schools Prize Due in TWO WEEKS!

May 31, 2024, 9:36 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

Ready your reports and pull together your plans! Prize submission packages for the 2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize are due in TWO WEEKS

Ahead of your submission, we recommend reading the official prize rules to better understand the prize goals, submission requirements, and judging criteria. If you didn’t have a chance to attend an informational webinar or office hour you can review their slides and recordings here

Successful submission packages to the 2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize will include: 

  1. Technical Narrative (template provided)
  2. Energy Justice Mapping Tool Reports (template provided as needed)
  3. School Energy Assessment (SEA Form) Tool Reports (template provided)
  4. Community Benefits Plan (CBP) (template provided)

If you have questions about the rules please review the resources on the FAQ page, which include the teaming partner list and DOE Q&A Spreadsheet. If you still have questions, please reach out to  to reach prize organizers. 

We can’t wait to read your submissions!


Energy Justice Mapping Tool Discrepancy - Resolved!

May 28, 2024, 9:48 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Teams - The Energy Justice Mapping Tool issue shared on April 30th has been resolved!

If a school or school district in your portfolio was showing as a Disadvantaged Community (DAC) on the mapping tool map but was not showing as a DAC in the mapping tool report, please re-run the EJ Mapping Tool report.  

Thank you for your patience while this was resolved and looking forward to seeing your submissions in just a little more than 2-weeks!

 


Forum19
Teams1K
Resources
FAQ