Community-building and solar power

Ninety low-income households across Southern California will have solar power systems installed at no cost as a result of a partnership between a nonprofit organization, GRID Alternatives, and a for-profit company, Sullivan Solar Power. For every new system Sullivan installs, they’ll donate one to the community.

rooftop san diegoThe solar panels will be donated and installed at no cost to the household, but the real benefits come down the line, as energy savings add up. A 3,809-watt, 18-panel installation could save the homeowner at least $700 in the first year and more than $35,000 over 30 years as the cost of electricity keeps increasing.

Jimmie Martin, a veteran whose household of nine will receive a solar power system, said, “I’m very excited when you’re saving the amount of money over a 30-year period like [San Diego Mayor Bob Filner] was talking about. $30,000-plus, that’s great. That’s great news. I love that.”

Using renewable energy to strengthen communities and encourage economic development is a great example of the triple bottom line— and when groups come together to advance equality, sustainability, and prosperity, everyone wins.

Nonprofits reduce their carbon pawprint

A nonprofit, no-kill animal adoption center, Texas Humane Heroes, installed a rooftop array on their Memorial Garden pavilion. Solar panels are ideal for the peaceful, reflective space, because they’re unobtrusive, silent, and produce no pollution.

A donation from Green Mountain Energy’s Sun Club facilitated the installation. The 11.76-kilowatt system will offset 18,000 pounds of carbon dioxide—that’s the equivalent of offsetting nearly ten cross-country car trips every year.

It makes sense for an animal rescue to want to go green while reducing their overhead expenses, and stabilizing energy costs is one of the wisest decisions a nonprofit can make. Corporations have been benefiting from solar power for decades, but we love seeing more and more examples of nonprofits using renewable energy to empower their communities.

If your nonprofit has installed solar power, what has been the biggest benefit?

This post originally appeared in Community Renewable Energy.

About Holly

Holly Jensen is a writer and poet who has worked with nonprofits and businesses for over a decade. She also serves as editor of The Ghazal Page, an international literary journal.
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