Buckhorn Children & Family Services (BCFS), a nonprofit organization in eastern Kentucky that provides services to at-risk youth, has recently unveiled its new 20.4 kilowatt solar array to its Buckhorn Campus Rogers Cottage. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Buckhorn Children & Family Services yesterday, June 30.
The solar installation, provided by Everybody Solar, an organization dedicated to providing solar energy to nonprofits, is projected to produce 28,288-kilowatt-hours annually, decreasing the electricity costs of the BCFS building by 29 percent. Project managers estimate an average savings of $4,000 annually over the next 25 years or $100,000 saved over the lifetime of the solar array system.
“Lighting, heating and cooling are ongoing concerns for operations,” said Billy Smith, BCFS executive director. “Our electricity bills for the Cottage alone are over $1,400 per month during the winter – so installing a new solar array to decrease operating expenses will help us tremendously. The energy savings represent 14,000 hygiene kits; 2,800 sets of warm children’s bedding; or nearly 50 children who can receive 10 days of high-need one-on-one treatment that they can’t find anywhere else,” said Smith.
BCFS serves all 120 counties of Kentucky by providing campus-based residential treatment programs, foster care, adoption and support for individuals experiencing developmental disabilities. About 800 children are served annually, many survivors of chronic and severe abuse and neglect.
“This year has been particularly challenging for BCFS,” added Smith. “COVID-19 has hit us and many nonprofits in ways we could not have anticipated. This solar project offers us a glimmer of hope as it would provide real and immediate savings in electricity costs.”
The impacts of the solar array project extend beyond BCFS. HOMES, Inc, the partner installer on the project is developing a social enterprise line of business around solar installations in Eastern Kentucky. “Projects like the BCFS are critical for organizations and small businesses in an area of persistent poverty; helping to lower operating costs so that these businesses can survive and providing vital services to our communities,” said Seth Long, executive director of HOMES Inc. As Kentucky does not have a renewable portfolio standard (state legislation that mandates a certain percentage of all energy generation come from renewable sources by a certain date), the BCFS solar project is an example of how renewable energy can help bolster local economies and open doors to this industry. For instance, some of the HOMES staff completing the installation are former coal miners.
“In a state that doesn’t offer much support for renewable energy installation, securing partners and donations was vital,” said Myriam Scally, Everybody Solar director of operations and development. “This project is a shining example of how communities can come together and help its most vulnerable citizens while creating a more sustainable future.”
“We are thrilled to support Buckhorn Children & Family Services in going solar with a $24,205 grant from the Solar Moonshot Program, helping stop the climate crisis and inspiring others to strive toward a zero carbon future,” said Tara Hammond, founder and CEO of Hammond Climate Solutions, which manages the program on behalf of Left Coast Fund. “This exciting project in coal country Kentucky showcases how investing in solar reduces costs that can be reinvested into the community while mitigating impacts of the climate crisis, stimulating the economy with local green jobs and contributing to a more just, livable future.”
Project partners include the solar panel provider MaxSolar, the Mountain Association, HOMES Inc., the Gumerlock Family Foundation, the Solar Moonshot Program (managed by Hammond Climate Solutions and funded by Left Coast Fund), CITIZEN, Business Performance Improvement, PopSockets, Tonic San Francisco and Patagonia SF.
A ribbon-cutting event was held at Buckhorn Children & Family Services on Wednesday, June 30. For further information, visit, everybodysolar.org.
Credit: Source link