|The Community Environmental Council (CEC) announced a goal of achieving one megawatt of solar on regional nonprofit agencies by 2023, and has expanded their successful Solarize Nonprofit program to Ventura County to support this move toward a carbon neutral community. Nonprofits that own their buildings or are in long-term leases are encouraged to see if the no upfront cost program fits for them at SolarizeNonprofit.org.
Offered in partnership with Asteri Solar since 2018, CEC’s Solarize Nonprofit gives nonprofits in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties a double benefit: a no upfront cost entry into solar, with long term savings that can reach to hundreds of thousands of dollars. To date, the program has helped eight nonprofit agencies – including the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center, Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, and Girls Inc. Carpinteria — add a total of 250kW of renewable energy to the grid.
Tim Molloy, Director of Finance and Operations at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, explained how removing the big upfront investment allowed the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission to not only add a 40kW solar system in June of 2019, but to save big: “We looked into going solar in the past, but the no up front cost offer through Solarize Nonprofit made the decision much easier. We expect to save about $200,000 in utility bills over the life of the project.”
CEC works closely with participating nonprofit agencies and Asteri Solar throughout the process to ensure that equipment, systems, workmanship, and contracts are carefully considered. Asteri purchases the solar system and sells the energy directly to the nonprofit over the course of five years. At the beginning of year six, nonprofits have the option to purchase the system at the fair market value and fully capture the economic benefits of solar ownership. Solar systems last for decades and nonprofits can save $200,000 or more in operating costs over the next 30 years.
Matt Riley, owner of Asteri Solar, is excited about bringing the program’s benefits to Ventura County and greatly expanding the program in coming years. “Nonprofits need help when it comes to financing solar to achieve their sustainability goals. By partnering with CEC, we have the opportunity to offer more social benefit agencies high quality and affordable solar systems without putting a strain on their finances — so they can continue to focus on the great work they do in our communities.”
Solarize Nonprofit stemmed from CEC’s work over the past decade to help over 800 Central Coast homeowners go solar, and they are now able to extend their solar advocacy and experience to benefit organizations that serve the public good. April Price, CEC’s Renewable Energy Program Senior Manager, also spoke to the community benefits of dramatically increasing renewable energy like solar, “One megawatt of solar is about the same amount that would be needed to power 250 homes. Progress like this is what we need to move to a 100% renewable energy future. Equally important, the hundreds of thousands of dollars nonprofits save on utilities can be redirected back toward their work for the public good.”
For inquiries and more information, visit SolarizeNonprofit.org, or contact April Price at [email protected]ecmail.org or by phone at (626) 755-1347.