How Texas schools can go green with federal funding

Bowen Wilder | Used by permission
Solar panels on Austin High School in Austin, Texas
Kian Zozobrado

Communications Manager

With conversation surrounding climate change more heated than ever, many schools are looking for ways to invest in sustainable, clean energy. But upfront costs can be debilitating, and many districts are unsure of where to look for resources for funding, or even how to identify what improvements should be made.

As a starting place, we recommend learning about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Understanding the Acts

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), was signed into law in 2021 by President Biden. This specific act provides many resources for clean energy, including tax credits for green energy upgrades and electric vehicles. The Inflation Reduction Act, signed August 2022, is an expansion upon the tax credits and financial resources offered by the IIJA.

Both of these laws have allowed school districts to invest in clean energy upgrades. More than 10 school districts in Texas have received funding from both Acts to purchase electric school buses. Eliminating diesel emissions and creating a safer environment for students and drives is a major benefit to electric buses, but it’s not the only one: Districts are now able to take the money they would have needed to invest in buses and charging stations and put it toward other school needs.

For those unsure of where to start when it comes to clean energy upgrades, consider the Energy CLASS Prize. San Antonio ISD and IDEA Public Schools are the Texas awardees for 2023. Both districts will receive $100,000 to put toward training on clean energy practices as well as facility upgrades. Depending on how schools perform, they’re eligible for another $50,000 during phase two of the program.

Both Acts are about providing funding for schools – as well as other public entities – to take intentional steps toward clean energy, ensuring a better future for the country. Funding sources available through the Acts include:

How to Secure Funds

So how exactly do you apply for funding? First, head to to register your school or district; this step is required to apply for any funding from the government. The process is free but can take some time, so be sure to apply well before any application deadlines.

A quick note: Registering is different from simply signing up for an account. Sign up for an account if you want to be able to save searches or access certain reports. This login will give you access to other government websites as well, but again, you will not be able to apply for funding unless you register.

The SAM website has a directory of all funding opportunities available. This is a great source if you want to learn more about different programs and compare them to decide which is best for you. Be sure to note qualifications and deadlines.

Once you’ve identified which programs would work best for your school or district, head over to, the official government website where you’ll put in an application for funding. You’ll need to register with (a separate process from registering with SAM, so not something you can skip). Once registered, find the funding opportunity you’re interested in and begin the application process.

The application process is entirely online, and may take time to complete. First, create a Workspace account, which is the platform on which the applications exist. If you need multiple people to help complete the application, they can create separate Workspace accounts and can be added as collaborators. When the forms are complete, you’ll be able to check the status of your application through

Finally, be sure to ask for help if you need it. Local organizations (if you’re along the Gulf Coast, check out the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice) are available to help you learn all you need to submit a strong application when applying for federal aid.

Tips for Applying

  • Read the applications carefully.
  • Get a second (or third!) set of eyes on the application – it never hurts!
  • Double check the timelines, reportable, and deliverables required for each application.
  • Don’t be afraid to jump in!

Want to learn more about applying for federal funding for clean energy initiatives? Check out this recording of our webinar covering the IRA and IIJA and hear from school administrators and Department of Energy officials!


Kian Zozobrado

Communications Manager

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