Our first gift of $500 was a joyful matching challenge to other congregations, inviting them to fund solar on affordable housing. If community funding for solar worked for our congregation, why not for affordable housing? A partnership between Durham Community Land Trustees and Solarize NC (a project of NC WARN) formed to install a 11.55kW array on a quadruplex of affordable housing.
On Friday, November 6, Gary and Jane Smith represented CUCC and our community of donors at the dedication of the solar array. We met two of the long-time tenants and mingled with project organizers, the solar installers (Yes! Solar Solutions), and neighbors in this steadily revitalizing West End neighborhood. The four tenants should see their electric bills decrease by a total $1700/year - more than half of the previous expense. More than a solar project, the work became a springboard for other economic justice activities. DCLT received a grant for a new roof and complete weatherization of the units (which should bring additional savings). A job training component was added when the solar installer welcomed the opportunity to train and hire new workers with barriers to employment; these jobs pay a living wage. Even the cake served at the celebration was made by a neighborhood bakery which is a jobs training program. (Learn more about Sharing Solar and our joyful challenge to congregations. )
Unbeknownst to us, while we were attending the ceremony, the second $500 donation was being put to work. A crew of volunteers from High Country United Church of Christ (Vilas, NC) and Collaborative Solar installed their 12.5kW solar array, funded in part by CUCC's gift of $500. Here's what Connor Boyle, our HCUCC contact, said about the day:
"We installed our 12.5Kw system yesterday. Collaborative Solar (the contractor we worked with from the Clean Energy for Boone campaign) gave us a lot of the equipment at cost and allowed us (the congregation) to help with the installation.
We had about 10 of us from the congregation and 5 ASU students (who just wanted to be involved with installing solar) working under the supervision of Collaborative Solar for the installation of 39 PV panels and optimizers. We had to work around light rain, which made for a slippery metal roof, but put the last panel on in mid-afternoon.
Thanks again for all your support."
Got the solar bug? We learned about another NC nonprofit project to install solar. Friends of Jordan High School in Durham have a November 30 deadline to raise funds for a 5 kW pole-mounted array which will be a teaching tool at Jordan High. If they can raise $10,000, their funds will be matched dollar for dollar both by NC Green Power and by the State Employees Credit Union Foundation. We contributed $75 from the CUCC Solar Array Project. Why not add your gift, too? Your gift will be tax-deductible, but is not eligible for tax credits. Maybe a Christmas gift? Donate