We’re collaborating with other partners to provide solar power for seven local nonprofit groups, helping them achieve their sustainability goals.

The Nonprofit Solar Project was developed by the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona in partnership with Solar United Neighbors. Solar installations will be funded primarily from an anonymous donor with additional contributions of $15,000 from TEP and $100,000 from Tucson Foundations. In all, the program is a $630,000 investment in local nonprofits.

TEP also will help with technical support and other needs during the qualification and installation process.

“So many of our nonprofit partners are focused on sustainable practices and doing what’s right for the planet,” said Wendy Erica Werden, TEP’s Manager of Community Investment and Philanthropy. “This is one way they can accomplish those goals and redirect more of their operating costs toward meeting the critical needs of our community.”

The recipients for the first year of the project include:

  • BICAS (Bicycle Inter-Community Art and Salvage)
  • Coyote TaskForce
  • The Drawing Studio
  • The Edge School
  • Emerge! Center Against Domestic Violence
  • Sonoran Glass School
  • Youth On Their Own

BICAS, a community bicycle education center, provides youth programs and job training along with an arts program focused on recycled products and sales of refurbished bikes and parts. The program, which started in the 1980s, moved to its current location in 2017 with a long-term goal of installing solar panels to promote sustainability.

The organization had just recoated its roof when they became aware of the Nonprofit Solar Project opportunity.

“We thought this was perfect timing for us. What a great opportunity at the right time,” said Kristin McRay, BICAS’ education coordinator.

With about 8,000 square feet of warehouse and a flat, metal roof, McRay said BICAS needs electricity to run large lights and swamp coolers, along with air conditioning for a small lounge and office area.

“We’re definitely interested in seeing the effects on our bottom line. Having the opportunity to funnel the electricity savings back into our programming in support of the community is really exciting,” McRay said.

A community committee guided by Solar United Neighbors reviewed more than 70 applications before announcing the first-year recipients in September. The next step is for Solar United Neighbors to select solar installers for the work.

“We were thrilled to receive so much interest from a variety of organizations in going solar and couldn’t be more excited to help these seven incredible nonprofits make their solar vision a reality,” said Bret Fanshaw, Arizona Program Director for Solar United Neighbors. “We can’t wait to see the installations go up and their energy savings kick in.”

See a press release about the program and learn more about the nonprofit recipients.

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