SCEP Schools Program graphic


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 costs, improve indoor air quality, and foster healthier learning environments. 

The Renew America’s Schools program launched its first round of funding in 2022.  To date, it has invested $182.5 million in public school districts across America. The $4.5 million Energy CLASS Prize focused on helping Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) build capacity for energy management and make preparations for implementing energy-infrastructure upgrades. The $178 million Renew America’s Schools grant funded clean energy and energy-efficiency improvement projects at over 90 school facilities across 22 states – directly benefitting about 74,000 students and 5,000 teachers. 

Applications are now open for the second round of funding: The Renew America's Schools Prize.  In this round, DOE is implementing a prize-to-cooperative-agreement funding model to streamline the application process, and to provide LEAs earlier, 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 districts across the country.  

Visit the HeroX website to read the rules document, find information about upcoming webinars and office hours, and start your application today! 


Sign up for Office Hours on April 24 at 1PM ET to learn more about applying for the 2024 Renew America's Schools Prize.


Register for “Beyond Grants: Federal Funding for School Facilities" on May 7 from 1-2PM ET to learn about non-competitive tax credits for schools.


View the Informational Webinar for the 2024 Renew America's Schools Prize.




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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is now accepting submissions for the 2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize, a $180 million investment in K-12 public schools and school facilities across the country. 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 and execute Cooperative Agreements with DOE. Awards made in Phases 2 and 3 will vary by portfolio size:

A graphic depicting the 2024 Renew America's Schools Prize funding by portfolio size.  This graphic shows funding at each stage of the prize-to-cooperative-agreement model, and how that varies based on the number of school facilities proposed for improvement.

Competitive Submissions 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: 1) community and labor engagement; 2) investing in job quality and workforce continuity; 3) advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA); and 4) contributing to the Justice40 Initiative. 

Want more information? 

  1. Read the 2024 Prize Rules and learn how to apply on the HeroX platform.
  2. Read the Fact Sheet for the 2024 Renew America's Schools Prize.
  3. Engage with the 2024 Renew America’s Schools Q&A Spreadsheet.
  4. Watch a recording or read the slides from our Informational Webinar. 
  5. Engage in our Office Hours:

Spotlighted Questions

Yes!  Applications are open to all eligible entities, regardless of past participation.  

The 2024 Renew America's Schools Prize supports the implementation of energy improvements at K-12 public schools, including both traditional public and public-charter schools.  Private schools are not eligible.

Local educational associations (LEAs) play an essential role in the application and project implementation process; for this reason, any team applying for the Renew America's Schools grant must include an LEA. However, out of recognition that successful projects can come from a variety of teaming partnerships, eligible entities are not limited to LEAs.  Per the Rules Document, "Entities eligible for participation in the 2024 Renew America's Schools Prize must meet the eligibility requirements as described in Section 40541(a)(3) of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  Specifically, an eligible entity is described as a consortium of: 1. Schools; 2. Nonprofit organizations that have the knowledge and capacity to partner and assist with energy improvements; 3. For-profit organizations that have the knowledge and capacity to partner and assist with energy improvements; or 4. Community partners that have the knowledge and capacity to partner and assist with energy improvements."

For further information about eligibility, and to read the full Rules Document, view the 2024 Renew America's Schools Prize on the HeroX platform.  

Teaming Partner List

Updates to the Teaming Partner List will be available on the resources tab of the HeroX Platform. The Teaming Partner List will be updated regularly to reflect new teaming partners who provide their organizations' information.  



School Needs and Benefits Assessment Resources
A compiled list of resources to support the development of a baseline energy needs assessment, with linked tutorial videos to demonstrate how DOE's resources may be combined to develop a baseline energy needs assessment.

Energy Justice Mapping Tool for Schools
A tool to explore and produce reports for individual school facilities based on several metrics.

  • View the updated Energy Justice Mapping Tool for Schools Tutorial and learn how to search and run reports for a K-12 public school or public school district (also known as a Local Educational Agency, or LEA), including a public charter school.  


2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize

On May 7 at 1PM ET, join a webinar to learn about non-competitive tax credits for schools: “Beyond Grants: Federal Funding for School Facilities.” 

The U.S. Department of Energy's Renew America's Schools program, in partnership with UndauntedK12 and the Center for Green Schools, is pleased to provide an overview of new opportunities to drive investment into your school districts. On May 7 at 1pm ET, school leaders and partners involved in financing, capital planning, facilities, and sustainability are invited to a webinar for an overview of new clean energy tax credits for schools.

  • The Inflation Reduction Act has made unlimited and non-competitive clean energy tax credits available to tax-exempt entities for the first time. Schools are now eligible to receive a non-competitive cash payment from the IRS, including up to 70% cash reimbursement for eligible clean energy investments.  These credits can support schools in accessing clean technologies: from solar, geothermal, and other renewables to energy storage.
  • This webinar will provide insight into which credits are available and how Elective Pay, also known as Direct Pay, can be incorporated into project planning or applied to ongoing projects.

Watch the video and read the slides from our recent joint webinar with the Loan Programs Office (LPO): "Loan Strategies for School Energy Improvements: Part 1."

This webinar provides information about loan strategies applicable to school energy improvements. It may be of interest to state and local leaders, school energy champions, and prospective partners of school districts seeking energy improvements.  

  • Through the State Energy Financing Institution (SEFI)-Supported category of the Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program, LPO can augment state-administered clean energy programs, providing additional financial support to projects that align federal energy priorities with those of U.S. states. SEFI-Supported projects do not have a technology innovation requirement, so the authority expands eligibility for LPO financing to include certain projects that incorporate commercial technologies or aggregate technology-diverse projects and that receive meaningful financial support or credit enhancements from a SEFI.  This means that, through the Clean Energy Financing Program, LPO can provide loan guarantees for clean energy deployment projects, including renewables and efficiency, as well as clean transportation. 


Watch our recent webinar, "All about Energy: Tools and Resources for Schools.

This webinar highlights how K-12 schools can use recently-updated, freely-available resources to pursue energy improvement projects. From identifying energy savings opportunities to estimating costs and more, these tools and resources can help school leaders develop strategic plans to lower energy costs and create safer, healthier learning environments. 


Watch our Power of Partnerships Webinar!

This webinar highlights different partnership models that can help school districts move forward making energy improvements. It provides examples of community-based partnerships, as well as partnerships with energy service companies, universities, and utilities. Learn what has worked well for school districts across the country engaging with these different types of partners.

  • Read the slides.
  • What this webinar covers:
    • DOE Opportunities for Energy Improvements in K-12 Schools
    • The Power of Partnerships
    • School Districts & their Partners
    • Resources and Announcements.

The Department of Energy announced the opening of the 2024 Renew America's Schools Prize on March 20, 2024.

Submissions for the 2024 Renew America's Schools Prize are due on the HeroX platform by Thursday, June 13th at 5PM ET.

Eligible projects include energy infrastructure improvements that reduce building operating costs—like new HVAC and ventilation systems, building envelope and lighting projects, and renewable energy technologies. Funding is also available for alternative fueled vehicles and alternative fueled vehicle infrastructure.


Learn About Our Past Competitions

2022-2023 Renew America's Schools Grant

Selectees were announced on June 29, 2023. Due to high demand and overwhelming evidence of public need, DOE more than doubled the funding for Round 1 of the competition, from $80 million to $178 million. Local Education Agencies will now move through the award process to implement the building improvement projects they proposed, to bring cleaner air, better lighting, and more occupancy comfort to their facilities.


2022-2023 Energy CLASS Prize

In tandem with the Renew America's Schools grant, DOE launched a $4.5 million prize called the Energy Champions Leading the Advancement of Sustainable Schools Prize (Energy CLASS Prize).  This two-phase, competitive award aims to support some of the nation's highest-need K-12 schools by establishing, training, and supporting energy managers - or champions - in their districts.  On May 5, 2023, DOE announced 25 Winners who will each receive $100,000 and gain access to the Energy CLASS Prize Training Network.  


Related Resources

Federal School Programs

Efficient and Healthy Schools Program
A national program aimed at engaging K-12 schools to reduce energy costs and improve energy performance and indoor air quality.

Better Buildings Initiative Resource for K-12 School Districts
An initiative that partners with leaders in many sectors, including school districts, to make the nation's buildings more energy efficient by accelerating investments and sharing successful best practices.

Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) Campaign
The Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) Campaign engages public sector building owners across the municipal and state governments, universities and colleges, schools, and hospitals (MUSH) market and other market stakeholders to expand and enhance the use of ESPC to achieve significant energy, environmental, and cost savings benefits. The goal is for participants to collectively achieve $1 billion in measured and verified savings by 2030.  

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Healthy School Environments
EPA provides funding and learning opportunities on key issues related to enhancing healthy school environments.  

U.S. Department of Education (ED) School Infrastructure Programs (SIP)
ED has developed two new grant programs that address school infrastructure needs and challenges across the country. 

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) resources explaining Elective pay and transferability
Learn more about how tax-exempt and governmental entities can benefit from clean energy tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act.  

Financing Resources

Financing Efficient and Healthy Retrofits
A resource for more information on solutions to access capital and finance energy efficiency projects in schools.

BIL Provision 40541


State and Community Energy Programs (SCEP)

New Program:


Funding amount:


Funding Mechanism:



Consortium of One Local Education Agency and one or more Schools, Non-Profits, For-Profits, and Community Partners

Period of Availability:

Available until expended

Learn More About the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law