How is installing solar panels on a nonprofit's building an action of economic justice?
Supporting nonprofits: Organizations which already serve our community find themselves burdened with the ever-increasing costs of their electrical bills. Through net metering, the nonprofit is able to defray those costs by selling the energy generated by the solar array to the utility company.
For instance, Community United Church of Christ expects to cut its electricity bill in half (from $2000 annually to $1000). This benefits not only the congregation, but also the many community groups which use the building for regular meetings, vigils, special presentations, and training sessions: 350.org, Alcoholics Anonymous, Covenant Community, Mankind Project, the NC State Fair Peace Booth, PFLAG.
ARCHIVAL NOTE: Our electric bills for the first year of operation show the anticipated $1000 savings.
Building the green jobs economy: Investing in a solar array is also investing in a small business and its employees. The two companies who have tendered bids on the Community UCC Solar Array Project are local companies with deep roots in the community. Their employees are trained carefully with safety being a high priority. One of the two companies is a B Corp, a rigorous type of incorporation which requires the company to balance the interests of people, planet and profit. As we expand the number of sites where solar arrays can be installed, we keep these jobs local and support our neighbors.
SunPower, which makes the solar panels, is a US company with production sites in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Mexico. The company has extensive and detailed policies on a variety of economic justice issues and they have adopted the UN Global Compact which addresses human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. They are committed to supplier diversity and are committed to avoiding the use of conflict minerals.
Showing that we can act to slow climate change: As people come to the nonprofits' buildings, they see the transition to renewable energy in action. The solar arrays are a public testimony that moving away from fossil fuels is possible and that it is happening where people live and work.
Community United Church of Christ is expanding this educational role by posting our monthly energy generation and usage on this website (e- reports tab) and working with other groups in the community interested in installing solar arrays, providing technical support and encouragement.
If you are considering installing a solar array and would like to talk in-depth about our process and how we raised funds, contact Gary Smith, chair of the JCC, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are glad to share the resources and processes we developed.