Published on December 19th, 2013 | by Guest Contributor0
It’s A Wonderful (Solar) Life
By Carter Lavin, Solar Marketing Group
Whether it’s a solar array that helps a charity organization focus more on its mission by eliminating its electric bill, or a lamp that helps a child in a remote village do his/her homework at night for the first time, the gift of solar endures.
Thanks to new financing options and lower material costs, solar has been growing like crazy and helping middle class families across the country save for retirement and college funds. However, it still is just out of reach for most charities and non-profits. While a solar array pays for itself many times over and charities are great at cutting costs to improve operations, non-profits are often cut off from financing options that would allow them to benefit from solar. To fix this problem, solar companies and solar-specific non-profits are lending a hand through crowdfunding financing and donating product.
This holiday season, four solar organizations have teamed up to put a solar array in the stocking of one of Los Angeles’s most popular charities, Homeboy Industries, and spread solar cheer. Non-profit Everybody Solar and alt-rock group Trapdoor Social are crowdsourcing the funding for the project, while Orion Solar Racking, module manufacturer Ecosolargy, and inverter manufacturer Solectria Renewables have made significant in-kind donations. Everybody Solar originally planned to donate a 4.5kW system to Homeboy Industries to help them fund their job training and anti-recidivism programs, but due to the outpouring of good will from the solar industry and fundraising help from Trapdoor Social, they have raised their sights to a 7.7kW system. The larger system will save Homeboy Industries enough funds to provide an additional 500 hours of job training for formerly gang-involved men and women each year.
There is something that makes a solar donation to a charity so perfect for the holiday season. Maybe it is because a solar array helps the charity by literally harnessing the power of light. Or that, even in the darkest, coldest months of the year, a solar array still can help save the organization on its electric bill. But I think it might be something deeper; that the holidays are about focusing on what really matters.
During the holidays, we take a break from our daily worries to think about and celebrate the things that make life worth living. Charities like Homeboy Industries all strive to help solve a problem. Whether it is hunger, homelessness, poverty, or any number of noble causes, there are hundreds of worthy charities that are working to fix these problems every day. But each day they also have to worry about fundraising and overhead expenses. A donated solar array can reduce or eliminate a nonprofit’s electric bill, allowing the organization to focus a little less on fundraising and a little more on what really matters — the actual charitable cause.
This holiday season, when you or your company are looking to bring some joy to the world (with a tax-deductible donation), consider helping local charities like Homeboy Industries go solar. Helping a beloved local charity not only brings them solar savings, but it also pulls solar further into the mainstream. It increases your community’s solar awareness and elevates your organization in their eyes. So, while your contributions won’t give an angel wings, it can give you a halo.
About the Author: Carter Lavin is the Business Development Manager at Solar Marketing Group, a San Francisco–based marketing and communications agency specializing in PR, social media, and consulting. Solar Marketing Group helps solar and cleantech companies analyze their key markets, articulate their message, and connect with their target audience to achieve high impact marketing and sales goals.