West Virginia's non-profits, churches, municipalities, and businesses, and factories can gain ground with solar electricity. Electricity from their own rooftops, with steady payments, allows them to put resources toward what matters, like feeding and housing our neighbors. In spite of the benefits to going solar, non-profits have the highest barriers put in their way.
For instance, non-profits can’t take the tax credits that homeowners and businesses get. And big upfront payments just aren’t an option. That’s why precious few non-profits have ever gone solar in West Virginia.
But we are changing that with the Solar Holler Model: an innovative approach that allows any non-profit in West Virginia to go solar with no upfront cost and immediate savings on their electricity bill. How does it work?
The Solar Holler Model
For the first time ever, West Virginians can go solar with no cost, and without an exhausting, draining capital campaign. To make this possible, we've developed an innovative financing model campaign that puts electric water tanks to work. Here's the process:
1. An organization asks Solar Holler for help. We check the roof and property to make sure solar can work--and review electricity bills to see how much solar could save the organization.
2. Local supporters of the organization and project sign up to install Mosaic remote controllers on electric water tanks. Installed and operated (and paid for!) by Maryland-based Mosaic Power, these remote controls reduce pollution and blackouts by adjusting for a few minutes a day when your water heater turns on and off, without affecting your hot showers. Mosaic operates this 'virtual power plant' and sells the electricity savings to the regional utility grid--and pay participants $100 per tank per year. Rather than taking the payments themselves, solar project supporters allow these payments to go toward paying for the solar panels for the organization. Participation is free. All it takes is an electric water heater and an internet connection.
3. Solar Holler donates the solar system to the organization. Once enough Mosaic remote controls have been installed (usually 75 for a project), Solar Holler pays a local solar company to install the system, and donates the system to the organization. Solar Holler is repaid by the income from the Mosaic controllers, and through solar renewable electricity certificates--credits that we sell to utilities.
4. Once the project is paid off, participants' Mosaic water tank income is devoted to other solar projects in West Virginia--including solar at health clinics, schools, and libraries. This is about more than a single project--it's about keeping money in our communities, cleaning up our water and air, and creating jobs all across West Virginia.
Want to use your water tank to support a project in your holler? Let us know by signing up today.
Want to develop a Solar Holler project in your community? Contact Dan Conant to get started.