Cypress Creek Renewables Expands Betabox Learning Partnership in North and South Carolina

Raleigh, N.C., Jan. 17, 2024 — Cypress Creek Renewables, a leading renewables developer and independent power producer, and Betabox Learning, an innovative STEM enrichment and instructional resources provider, are announcing the expansion of their collaborative initiative to inspire the next generation of solar industry professionals. This enhanced partnership will extend the reach of Betabox Learning's innovative STEM programs to 2,500 students across ten counties in both North and South Carolina. 

The solar industry is experiencing rapid growth in the Carolinas, and faces a critical need for a skilled workforce to meet increasing demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a surge in solar photovoltaic installer jobs, growing 51% from 2019 to 2029, significantly faster than the average for all occupations. This program seeks to address this gap by engaging students across the Carolinas in hands-on learning experiences intended to increase interest and awareness amongst middle and high school students of essential skills in engineering and technology, particularly in the solar sector. 

“Cypress Creek Renewables is a valued industry partner whose support allows us to serve students in more communities throughout North and South Carolina that we simply would not be able to reach without their support.” said Sean Newman Maroni, CEO of Betabox Learning. 

Cypress Creek Renewables Director of Development Ben Manuel, said: “We are excited to expand our partnership with Betabox Learning, which allows Betabox to foster excitement and learning opportunities for students across the Carolinas. Cypress Creek, as an owner, operator, and developer of renewable energy projects, knows our position in the community must be as a long-term partner and working with Betabox puts resources in the hands of educators and schools for hands-on learning.” 

Deep Dive into the Betabox-Cypress Creek Program 
Each participating school kicks off the program with an Onsite Field Trip, where up to 100 students per day are immersed in STEM activities in the Betabox Mobile STEM lab, conveniently located in the school's parking lot. 

This initial hands-on experience is just the beginning. After the mobile unit departs, teachers gain access to the innovative platform. Thanks to the support of Cypress Creek, they receive up to $1,000 to spend on hands-on learning supplies and equipment. This funding is a significant resource for enhancing classroom learning, particularly in under-resourced areas. Additionally, the platform offers a wealth of standards-aligned lesson plans that delve into the solar industry. Examples of these engaging educational topics include building an Arduino-powered solar smart garden and exploring the potential of agrivoltaics—a cutting-edge field combining agriculture and solar energy. These lesson plans not only provide practical skills but also inspire students to envision a future in the burgeoning field of renewable energy. 

A hallmark of this partnership is the volunteer participation of Cypress Creek employees, who will work alongside Betabox Guides at various events. This arrangement offers students a rare opportunity to interact with real-life professionals, gaining insights into the world of renewable energy and the diverse career paths it offers. This holistic approach to STEM education underscores the commitment of both Betabox and Cypress Creek Renewables to fostering the next generation of innovators and industry leaders. Supporting this initiative also shows the long-term commitment that Cypress Creek Renewables is making to the communities in which they operate to understand the unique needs of each community, and direct investment to address access to educational opportunities. 

How Schools Can Participate 
The program is now available to schools in the counties of Person, Granville, Onslow, Duplin, Wayne, Jones, Davidson, Lenoir, Pitt, and Anderson (SC). All middle and high schools within these counties are eligible to apply for this program, with priority enrollment directed to Title 1 schools in these districts. 

Follow The Program 
View to learn more about the program, and see which schools the mobile unit is visiting. Community leaders and stakeholders seeking to visit an upcoming location to see the mobile unit in action can email to request to view the experience. 

About Betabox Learning 
Betabox Learning’s mission is to spark and sustain hands-on learning in K12 schools. Our work helps to democratize access to STEM technologies and high quality hands-on learning opportunities to students in historically underrepresented rural communities. Since 2015, we have delivered more than 1,000 Onsite Field Trips at K-12 schools in which 80,000 students have participated. These high-energy experiences invite students to explore computer science, engineering, and technology topics in mobile labs that pop up in their school parking lots. Betabox is supported in North Carolina by the General Assembly and collaborates with NCDPI.