23 April 2012
1st Light Energy today announced the creation of its Benevolent Solar Fund. This program enables municipalities and other nonprofit organizations to create substantial fundraising opportunities and save money on their electric bills while reducing their carbon footprint, without any upfront investment.
St. Benedict Catholic Church and school in Holmdel, New Jersey, US, is the first organization to take advantage of the program, with its installation completed in late February. The school also has created a special Science Day to be held today, 23 April, around the solar installation and usage so its 509 students from kindergarten to eighth grade can learn firsthand about solar energy.
Because 1st Light Energy completed the project in record time, it was able to prevent St. Benedict from losing US $100,000 in Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) payouts.
Under the Benevolent Solar Fund program, participating organizations will receive a tax-deductible contribution of $500 or $1,000 in the name of a qualified homeowner or business owner. Under the terms of a multi-year power purchase agreement, solar panels are installed at no cost as part of a lease arrangement.
In order to receive funds under the program, eligible organizations need to organize at least 30 homeowners to attend an educational session hosted by a 1st Light Energy representative. The sessions promote solar energy, its affordability and its benefits. Funds will be awarded upon installation of the system.
At St. Benedict, 506 solar panels were installed in 11 groups behind the school; another 429 panels were placed on the roof of the school. Evergreens will be planted to screen the ground-mounted panels from view.