The NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) State Energy Office partnered with NC GreenPower, a local nonprofit, to support an energy reduction project for schools in economically distressed areas. NC GreenPower received funding to reduce the energy burden for 40 NC rural K-12 public schools. Four local schools, Wagram Elementary, South Robeson Intermediate, Rex-Rennert Elementary, and Piney Grove Elementary, received an NC DEQ LED Lighting Upgrade Grant. Lumbee River EMC services all except Wagram Elementary.
This initiative supported purchasing and installing high efficient “LED” light fixtures at no cost to the qualifying rural K-12 public schools. A heavy emphasis was placed on upgrading qualifying elementary and middle school gymnasiums in electric cooperative and electric municipality service territories since they have limited access to utility-sponsored commercial lighting rebates.
“This is an excellent opportunity for schools to upgrade their lighting, decrease energy consumption, and lower their energy bill,” said Misha Melvin, LREMC Energy Services Specialist. “It’s a win-win for all parties involved.”
The funding opportunity is part of the American Rescue Plan Act. Funding was prioritized for school systems with excessive energy consumption and costs. This effort aligns with recommendations from the North Carolina Clean Energy Plan to foster long-term energy affordability and equity for disadvantaged communities.
“Schools need to be fiscally responsible, and finding ways to operate greener will help us meet that responsibility,” said Dr. Freddie Williamson, PSRC superintendent. “I believe in One Team—One Goal, and this effort is an example of how multiple entities can work together for the greater good of the community.
NC GreenPower is a nonprofit whose mission is to expand public knowledge and acceptance of cleaner energy technologies to all North Carolinians through local, community-based initiatives. For more information, visit ncgreenpower.org.