The recently announced “Solar for Good” grant program in Wisconsin, which helps fund solar installations on churches and nonprofits, is proving more popular than expected and now organizers are seeking more supporters to help these institutions go solar. The program originally planned to offer $125,000 in grants to provide up to 20 percent of the costs of a solar array. They’ve already received more than $222,000 in requests.
The program was launched in October 2017 by Componex owners Cal and Laurie Couillard, which seed-funded the program. They engaged RENEW Wisconsin to help get the program underway. Grants are particularly important to helping nonprofit organizations go solar because they can help offset costs for groups that helping at-risk communities.
“The idea is that if we can install solar panels on churches and other nonprofits, then all the people that are going there will also see this happening. I want to spread the message that solar is not just green for the environment, it’s green monetarily. You can actually save money doing it. It pays for itself. And I want to get that word out because I don’t think a lot of people know it,” said Cal Couillard.
Still, like other solar expansion efforts in Wisconsin, it’s proved popular. When the enrollment period ended on Nov. 13, 23 organizations had registered seeking a total of more than $222,000 to support solar projects. That’s a difference of $97,000 that Solar for Good is now hoping to raise from other donors. If it’s able to raise the funds, the program would support over 1,100 kilowatts of solar in its first year, leveraging a total of $2.4 million in solar projects.
“The initial contribution has the potential to leverage 20 times its original value in solar installations,” said Tyler Huebner, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin. “The fund was started by a single family, but with the level of interest we’ve seen, the dream is that we would grow this initiative to support all 23 of the projects. If there are other philanthropists out there who care about renewable energy and want to invest in local community organizations, we encourage them to reach out to RENEW Wisconsin and consider donating.”
If the money isn’t raised the RENEW Wisconsin will likely have to decide which organizations to support. Among those that signed up for the funds were a food pantry near Madison, an organization serving homeless veterans, a mosque, a synagogue and many churches. In addition to demonstrating their mission-driven purposes they also were asked to demonstrate their ability to raise the rest of the funds needed to go solar and to show how they would educate people about solar energy after they go solar.Tweet