GiveSolar’s Solar Seed Fund

The Climate Action Alliance of the Valley, along with multiple partners, are hosting a GiveSolar Solar Seed Fund fundraiser on Friday, September 10 at 7PM. Details HERE!


June 15, 2021
PRESS RELEASE: Central Valley Habitat for Humanity Shares Their Solar Energy Model Across the State

Contact:
Jeff Heie, Director of GiveSolar, (540) 656-6841 or jeffheie [at] gmail.com
Kirsten Pittman, Community Outreach Coordinator, Central Valley Habitat for Humanity, (540) 828-6288 or kirsten [at] centralvalleyhabitat.org


On Friday, June 18 at 11 a.m., Central Valley Habitat for Humanity and GiveSolar will present a one-hour workshop to staff members of Habitat for Humanity affiliates around Virginia. The workshop will address the benefits of solar energy for Habitat homeowners as well as the Solar Seed Fund model used by the local Habitat affiliate to make solar systems possible on their new builds.

After the workshop, local volunteers will participate in a solar barn-raising to install 24 solar panels on the roof of the Habitat duplex at 660 Virginia Ave. in Harrisonburg. GiveSolar partners with Green Hill Solar, a Harrisonburg-based solar installation company, to install the systems on Habitat homes. Members of the media are invited to attend the solar barn-raising beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Background information:

In October of 2020, Central Valley Habitat for Humanity teamed up with local non-profit, GiveSolar, to create a model for funding and installing solar panels on newly built Habitat homes. Now they are sharing their knowledge with other Habitat affiliates around Virginia.

In February of 2021, the Central Valley Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors ​voted to support the effort to raise $100,000 for the Solar Seed Fund in the next year. When fully funded, the Solar Seed Fund will provide upfront funding to pay for the installation of 4 kilowatt -12 solar panel systems on newly built Habitat homes in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. The Solar Seed Fund will make it possible to install 20 solar systems on Habitat homes in the next five years.

The fund is currently at $37,043. On June 6, an anonymous donor committed to matching all donations made after June 6 up to $40,000 to assist in reaching the final goal. Donations to the Solar Seed Fund can be made at: tinyurl.com/y2f9xv2w

Solar will allow Habitat homeowners to save $40 – $50 each month on their electricity bills by generating their own electricity. After paying $20 monthly to repay the cost of the solar system, homeowners will experience a net savings of $20 – $30 per month.

* Central Valley Habitat for Humanity is a local non-profit that partners with low-income families in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County to build safe, decent, and affordable housing. Their program works with individuals that may not qualify to become homeowners through a conventional mortgage or that live in substandard housing.

* GiveSolar’s mission is to assist homeowners with low income and non-profits to gain access to solar energy through organizing crowdfunding campaigns and solar barn-raisings. Since 2016, GiveSolar has partnered with other solar advocates to add 299 kilowatts of solar power to the local electric grid.

Solar power is a clean, renewable energy source that reduces reliance on burning fossil fuels for electricity generation. Solar panels convert natural sunlight into usable electricity for buildings and work to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Advantages to adding solar panels to a building include saving on your monthly electric bill, reducing your carbon footprint, earning tax credits and rebates, and increasing the resale value of your home.


March 18, 2021

PRESS RELEASE: Give Solar Launches Solar Seed Fund for Central Valley Habitat for Humanity

Harrisonburg, VA – Give Solar, a Harrisonburg-based program of New Community Project, announces the launch of a revolving Solar Seed Fund benefitting ​Central Valley Habitat for Humanity homeowners. The Solar Seed Fund will pay for installing solar systems on all new Habitat-built homes that have a roofline that is appropriate for solar. 

Central Valley Habitat for Humanity (CVHFH) is a local non-profit that partners with low-income families in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County to build safe, decent, and affordable housing. Their program works with individuals that may not qualify to become homeowners through a conventional mortgage or that live in substandard housing. 

In Virginia, 75% of households suffer from an unaffordable electricity burden.  In addition to encouraging solar on the homes they build, Central Valley Habitat for Humanity also builds to EarthCraft standards that improve energy efficiency and further reduce the energy burden to homeowners. 

On Monday, Feb. 15, the Board of Directors of Central Valley Habitat for Humanity ​voted unanimously to support the effort to raise $100,000 for the Solar Seed Fund in the next year. 

When successful, the Solar Seed Fund will provide upfront funding to pay for the installation of 4 kilowatt (12 solar panels) solar systems on newly built Habitat homes in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. Give Solar partners with Green Hill Solar, a Harrisonburg-based solar installation company, to install the systems on Habitat homes. The Solar Seed Fund will make it possible to install 20 solar systems on Habitat homes in the next five years. 

The project aims to address the challenge of accessibility of solar energy to low-income households. Most low-income homeowners do not have the financial wherewithal to afford the upfront cost of solar energy. This project will draw on the fund to pay the $5000 upfront cost of solar and will allow the homeowner to repay this cost over the term of their mortgage (20-30 years). The money that is repaid by the homeowner will be returned to the Solar Seed Fund to pay for future solar installations on Habitat homes.  

Solar will allow Habitat homeowners to save approximately $40 each month on their electricity bills by generating their own electricity.  After paying $20 monthly to repay the cost of the solar system, homeowners will experience a net savings of $20 per month or half-price electricity.

In January, Kline May Realty announced a donation of $5000 to sponsor this project.  Solar United Neighbors of Virginia, a statewide solar advocacy non-profit, will promote the Solar Seed Fund within their networks in Virginia. Give Solar welcomes inquiries from other potential non-profit, business, and corporate sponsors. 

The fundraising goal of $100,000 will be raised through crowdfunding, grants, and sponsors.  Individuals interested in supporting this project can donate at https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=AHZE2KZ7EH44S 

The mission of Give Solar is to assist low-income homeowners and non-profits to gain access to solar energy through organizing crowdfunding campaigns and solar barn-raisings. Since 2016, Give Solar has partnered with other solar advocates to add 291.4 kilowatts of solar power to our local electric grid. 

Solar power is a clean, renewable energy source that reduces reliance on burning fossil fuels for electricity generation. Solar panels convert natural sunlight into usable electricity for buildings and work to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Advantages to adding solar panels to a building include saving on your monthly electric bill, reducing your carbon footprint, earning tax credits and rebates, and increasing the resale value of your home.

Contact:  Jeff Heie, (540)656-6841 or jeffheie [at] gmail.com


Give Solar in the News!

Everybody talks about bringing solar to low-income households. This guy is doing it (and you can, too).
By Ivy Main, Power for the People VA, August 9, 2021


Partnership offers a path to homeownership and sustainable energy
By Randi B. Hagi, The Citizen, June 21, 2021


Solar panels installed on Harrisonburg Habitat for Humanity home

By Colby Johnson, WHSV-3, June 18, 2021


In Virginia, solar ‘barn raisings’ bring power to families in need
A pair of Shenandoah Valley nonprofits have launched a fund to cover the upfront cost of outfitting Habitat for Humanity homes with photovoltaic panels that help put a dent in homeowners’ utility bills.

By Elizabeth McGowan for Energy News Network, March 29, 2021