Over the past few decades, global climate change has demonstrated dramatic effects on the environment and local populations, at an increasing rate. Scientists are predicting increases in the frequency and severity of major catastrophes, including: flooding, hurricanes, drought, and more. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, largely due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities”.
As a result of the above, individuals and corporations are looking at ways to reduce their environmental footprint while simultaneously reducing their overhead costs. To that end, the implementation of renewable energy has gained momentum in recent years – solar energy, in particular. However, while there are multiple programs to support the adoption of solar technology, a number of barriers continue to exist.
One of the barriers is that of public policy. The Trump administration, in particular, has slowed efforts to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by increasing drilling, withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, and imposing a tariff on the importation of solar panels. A less notable, but still impactful barrier on the adoption of renewable energy, is the one faced by nonprofits. While nonprofits stand to benefit greatly from utilizing solar as their source of energy – cutting operational costs is vital for the sustainability of many institutions – nonprofits do not benefit from tax credits/incentives to install solar energy. Indeed, as they are often stretching their dollars to meet their programmatic priorities, nonprofits rarely have the time or resources to dedicate to solar energy. Step-in Everybody Solar – a nonprofit dedicated to bring solar to nonprofits across the United States, at no cost to them.
Since our inception in 2011, we, at Everybody Solar have helped bring solar to eight nonprofits at ten sites. This past year, we brought solar to three new sites.
The first new project was to bring a 9 kW solar system to Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles California. Bringing solar to Homeboy Industries, helped promote their solar technology training program for formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women – allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of our community. The system is projected to offset 18,980 lbs. of CO2 annually for the next 25 years.
This is equivalent to eliminating greenhouse gas emissions of two passenger vehicles for one year, or to sequestering the carbon from 160 trees seedlings over ten years. Our second and third new projects were with One Spirit, at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The first was an 18.4 kW system at the Allen Youth Center and the second a 13.5 kW system at the Charging Buffalo House. The Allen Youth Center serves as a community shelter, education/training site, as well as serving over 4,000 meals to children in need throughout the year. The Charging Buffalo House is the first of its kind on the reservation, helping to re-establish Buffalo herds as well as the traditions of ‘Brain Tanning’ and traditional uses of Buffalo meat. Together these two systems are helping to generate much needed income on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation while helping create independence and sustainability for the community. Environmentally, these systems will offset over 69,000 lbs. of CO2 per year; equal to removing 7 passenger vehicles, or to charging 4,109,880 smartphones.
Overall, Everybody Solar has installed over 148 kilowatts (kW) of solar energy. This was done with the help of hundreds of donors and the support of community-oriented foundations, sponsors, and our partners- such as Foundation Beyond Belief. The 148 kW’s of solar energy translates into preventing greenhouse gas emissions from 71 passenger vehicles driven, or the electricity use of 50 homes, for one year. Likewise, this 148 kW’s offsets the equivalent carbon dioxide as sequestered by 8,563 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
It’s an honor to have been selected once more as Foundation Beyond Belief’s Natural World Beneficiary (2nd quarter of 2019). With the support of organizations like Foundation Beyond Belief – and the many inspiring humanists behind it – we are looking forward to increasing our impact in 2019 for great local nonprofits. We are dedicated to doing our collective part in addressing what may be the greatest threat humanity faces today.
By providing solar power to local charities we help them reduce electricity costs and direct their limited resources to the communities they serve. Currently, we are finalizing our fundraising for the Boise Bicycle Project and Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions. The Boise Bicycle Project helps provide refurbished bikes, bicycle repair, and education to their community. Having solar will allow them to increase their donations of bike kits (bike, helmet, lock, & light) to families in need and their special programs like “shifting gears” which partners with inmates to train them in bike mechanics (to donate to children) while earning a bike for their own release. Finally, Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions going solar will enable them to provide more scholarships to children and families to help increase their access to the outdoors.