Today, Secure Futures announced a grant award from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative’s Solar in Your Community Challenge, for a community solar barn raising project. The $50,000 award is part of a $5 million national prize competition aimed to expand solar electricity access.
The Thrift Community Solar Barn Raising team represents a collaboration among Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Harrisonburg Gift and Thrift Inc. (HGTI), Secure Futures and SolarWorld Americas. The project will use trained volunteers for installation, creative third-party financing, and crowdfunding.
Gift & Thrift’s 62 kW solar array in Harrisonburg, VA will serve as a model for other MCC facilities to go solar with economic, environmental, and community benefits.
“This partnership is an opportunity for us at MCC to live out our commitment to acting sustainably and caring for creation,” said Bruce Campbell-Janz, MCC East Coast executive director.
As Virginia’s leading commercial solar developer, Secure Futures will provide financing and technical expertise for each solar barn raising project. Secure Futures will use its innovative solar Self Generation Agreement (SGA) – a mechanisms that expands financing for customers that cannot access traditional solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPA’s).
“We are excited and honored by the SunShot recognition. This project exemplifies our commitment to community and our modest contribution in developing and managing an innovative business model,” said Dr. Tony Smith, CEO of Secure Futures. “The inspiration for this innovation resides with the Mennonite traditions and values.”
The proposal of solar barn raisings grows out of a long Mennonite tradition of community-based mutual support dating back to the eighteenth century. MCC is well positioned to model solar barn raisings based on its focus on creation care (environmental stewardship).
Deb King, MCC U.S. National Thrift Coordinator is pleased that some of the volunteers who learned to install solar panels at Gift & Thrift will be able to teach volunteers at future MCC projects. “That’s really an MCC model. You don’t go in and do things for people; you teach them how to do it.”
Through the DOE SunShot Initiative award competition and its partnership with MCC, Secure Futures builds on its innovation-driven model of serving the common good by expanding solar access to non-profit organizations.
About the Solar in Your Community Challenge
The Solar in Your Community Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative and administered by SUNY Polytechnic Institute, is a $5 million prize competition that aims to expand solar access to low and moderate income households; and state, local, and tribal governments; and non-profit organizations.
The application deadline to be considered as team or expert for the challenge is March 17, 2017. More information about the selected teams and the Solar in Your Community Challenge is at www.solarinyourcommunity.org.