Electrons with a conscience

February 8, 2013

One of the more pleasant surprises to me about the neighborhood solar campaign I’ve been tracking this winter (Go Solar Seattle Northwest) is the philanthropic aspect of it. The local installation and manufacturing companies involved have voluntarily sliced into their profit-margins to support the community-strengthening work of three nonprofit organizations.

First, and perhaps most impressively, the campaign raised $10,101 for American Red Cross disaster relief. This financial boost came from sales of solar panel arrays during part of the campaign (through December 31, 2012).

Photo of people standing behind large donation check

From left to right: Joe Deets of Community Energy Solutions, Ann Bodden of the American Red Cross, Brandon Gwinner of Sunmodo Corp., Stu Frothingham of Silicon Energy, Karl Unterschuetz of Itek Energy, and Melissa Metcalfe of Sunergy Systems

Bodden is particularly grateful to Joe and Tammy Deets, who saw a connection between the Hurricane Sandy disaster and climate change: “Joe and Tammy did an amazing job of rallying the manufacturers they work with to help raise over $10,000 for American Red Cross disaster relief. They were motivated and enthusiastic about helping the American Red Cross raise funds following Superstorm Sandy.”

Second, the Go Solar Seattle Northwest campaign is carving out $150 of each sale in Ballard territory to go to Sustainable Ballard. At this writing, 10 systems have been sold in zip codes 98107 and parts of 98117, amounting to $1,500. That’s no small change for a nonprofit community and environmental group that runs solely on volunteer power!

And finally, the organizers of the campaign, Community Energy Solutions, are themselves a nonprofit, whose mission is to “bring energy solutions to Main Street by being a catalyst for communities.” The sales from this particularly successful campaign will no doubt help them continue their catalyzing efforts. Up next: an energy efficiency workshop in Issaquah, where they will present information about combining home energy efficiency measures with solar power for optimal savings.

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