Palmetto Electric has long shown it can brighten lives: Our Operation Round Up program, started locally in 1989, has spread to over 340 co-ops across the U.S.

BRIGHT IDEAS LOGOWe also sponsor Bright Ideas, a grant program to fund innovative classroom based education projects that fall outside normal school funding. Since 2004, we have awarded 607 Bright Ideas grants totaling $465,349 to teachers in southern Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties.

Of those teachers, one of our brightest lights is Stacey O’Grady of Hilton Head Christian Academy, who has won grants for four years. Last fall, Stacey received $1,000 for The Power House Project.

Photo - 2017 Bright Ideas winner accepting check.
Hilton Head Christian Academy teacher Stacey O’Grady and Middle School Principal Dylan Curtis accept a 2017 Bright Ideas grant from Palmetto Electric’s Tray Hunter (left).

Stacey’s students make model houses and conduct over 100 experiments on ways to power them. The kids use everything from passive solar energy–letting the sun warm rooms— to magnetism to renewable energy sources such as wind, solar photovoltaics and hydropower, including wave power. They’ve even applied biology lessons to tap the power inside plants, notes Stacey, who graciously adds, “Without Palmetto Electric, none of this would be possible.”

Bright Ideas grants, she says, enabled a sixth-grade class to learn, hands-on, through to eighth grade. “They take a much greater interest in what they’re doing because they see the positive contribution for their own future,” Stacey says. “They are the next generation who will be able to really make a difference.”

Who knows–one of her Power House Project kids might one day become a co-op electrical engineer and help us meet our energy challenges. If so, they’ll be in good company: Palmetto Electric is a statewide leader in residential Green Power sales.

Thanks in part to members who support this innovative project, which taps fuel sources like methane from landfills, we have two Green Power Solar Schools in our service area. Palmetto has also established two local Community Solar farms.

So, teachers, if you have the bright stuff, we’re now accepting applications for 2018 Bright Ideas grants to be awarded next fall. Educators in grades K–12 from schools in our threecounty service area can apply. For details,contact a local co-op office or e-mail

If you’re not a teacher, don’t feel left out. As the ad on the next page says, our annual Million Dollar Hole-In- One Shootout is just around the bend. Sponsored by us, the Shootout benefits our Bright Ideas program.

Remember the saying, “If you’re reading this, thank a teacher”? Well, we’ll certainly thank you, and teachers like Stacey O’Grady and their students will thank you, if you brighten our day by coming out for the Shootout. See you there!

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