Each day, non-profit organizations across the Valley work tirelessly to provide valuable services to men, women and children around the state. As many organizations rely solely on donations, controlling operating costs is essential. Dollars spent maintaining buildings and facilities or paying for overhead costs are budgeted carefully, especially in today's economy when sources of funding are limited.
At SRP, we recognize the value non-profits play in our community. That's one of the reasons we created SRP EarthWise Energy, a voluntary program that SRP customers can participate in for as little as $3 per month. One hundred percent of the funds are used to provide solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to Valley non-profit organizations. Not only does this program help non-profits offset their costs, but the program has also contributed to the growth of solar energy in the Valley and helped educate customers on the importance of renewable energy.
Since 2007 the voluntary contributions paid by SRP EarthWise Energy customers have been used to provide solar PV projects for community-based non-profits, including Sunshine Acres Children's Home, 18 Habitat for Humanity homes, Maryvale YMCA, the Phoenix Zoo, the Desert Botanical Garden and the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center.
This year, we are inviting our EarthWise Energy customers to decide which three non-profits from a list of seven finalists will receive a 10-kilowatt (kW) solar PV system. The systems will help offset their regular energy usage with clean, renewable energy and save money on monthly electric bills. The savings they will see will help them direct more funds to the communities they serve.
In addition, the PV systems will result in a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. A typical 10-kW solar PV system helps to avoid the release of almost 20,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Earlier this year, applications poured in to the SRP EarthWise Energy Solar for Nonprofits contest. These entries were reviewed for suitability, including building ownership, roof type and condition, and the number of people served by the organizations.
The seven non-profit finalists are:
• A New Leaf Inc.
• Boys and Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix
• Fit Kids Inc.
• Homeward Bound
• Hospice of the Valley
• Junior Achievement of Arizona
• Mountain Health and Wellness
Now it's up to the non-profits to rally their constituents together to join SRP EarthWise Energy and vote. The more votes a non-profit receives, the more likely it will win the solar system. Also, by increasing SRP EarthWise Energy participation, additional funds will be available to build solar projects on non-profits next year.
Through this contest and by providing three non-profits with solar systems, we hope to educate our customers about the EarthWise Energy program, increase the program's enrollment and spread the word about the good things these non-profit organizations do.
Between now and mid April, current EarthWise Energy customers will receive a postcard from SRP with a unique code that will allow them to vote. If you are an SRP customer, but not an SRP EarthWise Energy member, you can sign up for the program at www.srpnet.com/nonprofit to not only participate in this clean energy program but to also vote on your favorite non-profit.
The top three vote-getters will be announced June 1. For more information, call (602) 236-4425 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lori Singleton, is manager of SRP sustainability initiatives and technologies.