Solar will allow Habitat homeowners to save approximately $40 each month on their electricity bills by generating their own electricity. After paying $20 monthly to repay the cost of the solar system, homeowners will experience a net savings of $20 per month or half-price electricity.
By Jeff Heie, Give Solar
Harrisonburg, VA – Give Solar, a Harrisonburg-based program of New Community Project, announces the launch of a regenerating Solar Seed Fund benefitting Central Valley Habitat for Humanity homeowners. The Solar Seed Fund will pay for installing solar systems on all new Habitat-built homes that have a roofline that is appropriate for solar.
Central Valley Habitat for Humanity (CVHFH) is a local non-profit that partners with low-income families in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County to build safe, decent, and affordable housing. Their program works with individuals that may not qualify to become homeowners through a conventional mortgage or that live in substandard housing.
In Virginia, 75% of households suffer from an unaffordable electricity burden. In addition to encouraging solar on the homes they build, Central Valley Habitat for Humanity also builds to EarthCraft standards that improve energy efficiency and further reduce the energy burden to homeowners.
On Monday, Feb. 15, the Board of Directors of Central Valley Habitat for Humanity voted unanimously to support the effort to raise $100,000 for the Solar Seed Fund in the next year.
When successful, the Solar Seed Fund will provide upfront funding to pay for the installation of 4 kilowatt (12 solar panels) solar systems on newly built Habitat homes in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. Give Solar partners with Green Hill Solar, a Harrisonburg-based solar installation company, to install the systems on Habitat homes. The Solar Seed Fund will make it possible to install 20 solar systems on Habitat homes in the next five years.
The project aims to address the challenge of accessibility of solar energy to low-income households. Most low-income homeowners do not have the financial wherewithal to afford the upfront cost of solar energy. This project will draw on the fund to pay the $5000 upfront cost of solar and will allow the homeowner to repay this cost over the term of their mortgage (20-30 years). The money that is repaid by the homeowner will be returned to the Solar Seed Fund to pay for future solar installations on Habitat homes.
In January, Kline May Realty announced a donation of $5000 to sponsor this project. Solar United Neighbors of Virginia, a statewide solar advocacy non-profit, will promote the Solar Seed Fund within their networks in Virginia. Give Solar welcomes inquiries from other potential non-profit, business, and corporate sponsors.
The fundraising goal of $100,000 will be raised through crowdfunding, grants, and sponsors. Individuals interested in supporting this project can donate at https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=AHZE2KZ7EH44S
The mission of Give Solar is to assist low-income homeowners and non-profits to gain access to solar energy through organizing crowdfunding campaigns and solar barn-raisings. Since 2016, Give Solar has partnered with other solar advocates to add 291.4 kilowatts of solar power to our local electric grid.
Solar power is a clean, renewable energy source that reduces reliance on burning fossil fuels for electricity generation. Solar panels convert natural sunlight into usable electricity for buildings and work to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Advantages to adding solar panels to a building include saving on your monthly electric bill, reducing your carbon footprint, earning tax credits and rebates, and increasing the resale value of your home.