‘Tis the holiday season, starting with Hanukkah and Thanksgiving and stretching through to New Year’s Eve. It’s a time to think of loved ones and others, and while you might not be thinking about putting solar on your roof during the shortest days of the year, maybe you should. You could be doing more than just putting solar power on your roof by supporting nonprofits—all without adding extra costs to you.
Some solar companies partner with non-profits to support their efforts during the holidays. In the past, Sierra Club had partnered with companies on donations. For homeowners going solar through the Sierra Club’s website, Sungevity—Sierra Club’s partner—will give Sierra Club $750 for homeowners that choose to solar. Thus far nearly 1,100 homes have gone solar through the program, generating countless hours of solar energy and more than $800,000 to support the Sierra Club’s conservation efforts.
In Oregon the local chapter of the Sierra Club partnered with RS Energy and Imagine Energy for its GoSolar+ campaign, allowing people to go solar with local installers. That program also offers residential third-party ownership options through SunRun.
More recently WWF (World Wildlife Fund, not World Wrestling Federation—though one could make the case that both deal with wild animals) partnered with two solar companies, Energy Sage and Pure Energy, to support WWF’s efforts to conserve endangered species through the "Renewable, It's Doable” campaign. Both companies launched their partnerships with WWF in December 2013 and plan to conclude their programs in September 2014.
“Homeowner interest in solar is going through the roof as more and more Americans find out just how easy it is to make the switch to clean, renewable energy,” said WWF Director of Renewable Energy Outreach Keya Chatterjee. She added that the partnerships are making it easier for homeowners to go solar while also supporting conservation efforts outside of the homeowners’ own contributions.
Under the partnership with Pure Energy, each house that signs up for solar power through WWF’s "Renewable, It's Doable" site and Pure’s 1BOG subsidiary, Pure will give WWF up to $1,000 to support its global conservation programs. "We are thrilled to be working with WWF to help their supporters benefit from solar energy,” said Chris Stern, VP of business development for 1BOG and Pure. “We believe that by adding solar energy to the proactive carbon-reduction measures a WWF supporter can take, we will see a new level of tangible, positive activism by a group already dedicated to fighting climate change.”
Likewise EnergySage will also donate to WWF for those that choose to solar through the WWF site. “By helping people live more sustainably and take action against climate change, EnergySage and WWF are working together to safeguard our planet,” said Vikram Aggarwal, Founder and CEO of EnergySage. That company will give $250 or more for each homeowner that goes solar through WWF.
Massachusetts-based Next Step Living also is ramping up its donation efforts with its recently launched Next Step Giving Campaign. “The purpose of Next Step Giving is to extend the benefits and potential of renewable, efficient energy beyond the borders of New England,” explained Geoff Chapin, Next Step Living CEO. “As a company committed to making a difference, we are grateful for the means and opportunity to help support groundbreaking nonprofit social-enterprise initiatives poised to make a tremendous impact.” Under the Next Step Giving campaign the company will make a donation to Boston-based Community Water Solutions (CWS), which is helping empower women in Ghana through creating potable water businesses and now solar-power businesses.
Next Step Living already donated $25,000 to CWS and will start donating $50 per purchased home service. The company also said it has dozens of partnerships with nonprofits like the Massachusetts Sierra Club, the Environmental League of Massachusetts and Connecticut – Clean Water Action. Earlier this fall the company announced it would donate $150 each to Downtown Waltham Partnership and Watch CDC for each system installed by Christmas through the Waltham Solar Challenge in Massachusetts.
Basically, if you’re considering solar this holiday season, contact local solar installers or nonprofit organizations that you’re interested in supporting and seeing if they have any partnerships with solar companies. Who knows, you could find a way to lower your energy bills and your carbon footprint while supporting good causes—all without costing you any more money.