A utility company plans to spend $300,000 to install solar energy systems at 10 schools in North Carolina.

Duke Energy, working with NC GreenPower, a not-for-profit organization, will pay for 100 percent of the installation costs for rooftop or top-of-pole mounted systems on school property at 10 locations. The program also will provide monitoring equipment, training and curriculum to students and teachers.

Duke Energy is carrying out the program as part of a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency against the utility, alleging violations of the Clean Air Act with regard to coal-fired power plants. The suit was originally filed in 2000, and the parties entered into a consent decree in 2015.

As part of the settlement, Duke Energy is required to spend at least $4.4 million to fund several environmental mitigation projects.

Any K-12 school served by Duke Energy Carolinas is eligible to apply for a solar panel system. Schools must apply through NC GreenPower; applications are due Dec. 2.

"NC GreenPower is excited to partner with Duke Energy to provide additional K-12 schools with this great educational package," says Vicky McCann, NC GreenPower vice president. "We rely on donations to help our schools, so this collaboration enables us to further our reach, especially to those schools that could not otherwise afford the technology,"