New campaign donates solar rooftop systems to nonprofits and heralds sun-power’s affordability for homes and businesses
Chapel Hill, NC – Energy-climate watchdog group NC WARN today unveiled solar water heating and solar electricity systems at Freedom House Recovery Center in Chapel Hill. These systems are part of a campaign to donate solar to nonprofit facilities providing services for needy North Carolinians. By working with local solar installation companies, the group is promoting solar power as solid, affordable investments for most homes and businesses, and a key element of the much-needed statewide shift to a climate-protecting renewable energy economy.
For many years, NC WARN has promoted the benefits of solar energy in the public eye and at the NC Utilities Commission. Now the group is donating rooftop systems and energy efficiency upgrades to a number of service organizations that use large amounts of hot water and electricity – including homeless shelters, group homes and rehabilitation centers.
By lowering operating costs significantly, WARN is helping sister nonprofits apply more of their existing funds – every year – toward services for residents in need. The project was made possible by an unsolicited grant recognizing NC WARN’s work promoting rooftop solar power as superior to new fossil and nuclear power plants.
So far the Solar Rooftop Donation Program has led to sizeable installations at Freedom House Recovery Center in Chapel Hill, Urban Ministries of Durham and the Helen Wright Center for Women in Raleigh.
NC WARN Assistant Director Rita Leadem today said, “We urge members of the public to consider a great investment in a solar hot water or electricity-generating system. Such “distributed” power helps protect all state residents from soaring electricity rates by avoiding costly, dangerous new power plants. And it helps us all by cutting greenhouse gases and other pollution.”
She added that solar provides an unmatched return on investment for home and business owners by locking in a very low cost for energy over the long term. “And the fuel – light from the sun – is free,” she said.
Trish Hussey, Executive Director of Freedom House Recovery Center, said today, “This is a gift that truly keeps on giving. We anticipate that these solar energy systems will save the agency thousands of dollars each year. These savings will allow at least 10 clients with severe and persistent mental illnesses and/or addiction disorders to receive ongoing treatment. We are excited to be able to help so many people become healthy, productive citizens while reducing our carbon footprint on this earth. Thank you, NC WARN!”
NC WARN says high-quality solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are now powering North Carolina homes for a net investment of $6,000 to $10,000 – about the price of a used car. Solar hot water systems are even more affordable. With federal and state tax incentives, systems can be paid off in 5-8 years while benefitting owners for 20-30 years and increasing the value of the home or business. Business owners can write off nearly the entire investment.
Solar helps people do their part to cut pollution and slow global warming, which has been NC WARN’s primary focus over the past decade. The new campaign also aims to boost job creation and development of locally owned solar businesses in North Carolina. So far NC WARN is partnering with the professionals at Cary-based Yes! Solar Solutions and Solar Consultants of Chapel Hill.
Stew Miller is president of Yes! Solar Solutions, which NC WARN hired to install the solar electricity system. At today’s press conference he explained, “Our business plan includes developing opportunities for non-profits to spread sustainability among all facets of the community. Freedom House’s renewable energy installation is another good example of how it can be done.”
“Freedom House is an ideal candidate for solar water heating, having good solar exposure, plenty of daily hot water use, the need to keep operating costs low, and a long-term outlook on making changes for the better,” said Tom Wills of Solar Consultants, who installed the solar hot water system. “Partnering with SolarHot (the Morrisville manufacturer of solar collectors) on this project helped us to install the system at a substantially reduced price.”
To help maximize the Solar Rooftop Donation Program and its benefits to nonprofits, solar installers and residents across North Carolina, NC WARN welcomes additional tax-deductible donations of any amount. NC WARN is urging North Carolinians to talk to the many solar professionals across the state about a solar electric or water heating system for their homes and businesses.
“The time is now for solar power in North Carolina. It’s affordable and it’s a key to moving this state toward a clean energy future,” NC WARN’s Leadem added.
See Solar Rooftop Donation Program photos at www.ncwarn.org
NC WARN, located in Durham, is a 24 year-old, member-based nonprofit tackling the accelerating crisis posed by climate change – along with the various risks of nuclear power – by watch-dogging utility practices and working for a swift North Carolina transition to energy efficiency and clean power generation. www.ncwarn.org
Since 1974, Freedom House Recovery Center has been committed to making a difference in the lives of people with addiction and mental illness. Freedom House provides a full range of recovery based services and support for individuals with an array of needs. Services include detox, facility based and mobile crisis services, short- and long-term residential rehabilitation, outpatient services, psychiatric services, community support services, Drug Treatment Court and Criminal Justice Partnership Program services. www.rtpnet.org/freedom/
Yes! Solar Solutions, based in Cary, N.C., designs and installs custom solar systems, both photovoltaic for electricity and thermal for hot water. Yes! Solar Solutions helps their clients reduce energy use and save energy costs by identifying the best and most cost–effective energy solutions for their homes or offices. www.yessolarsolutionsnc.com
Solar Consultants bring thirty years of experience in heating with the sun. Solar Consultants install solar and high-efficiency heating systems in new construction and existing buildings – helping to improve the environment by reducing emissions and helping people save money on energy bills. www.solarconsultants.com