I've written before about how to support clean energy without going solar. From Mosaic's crowdfunded investment for solar to straight-up donations for solar in Africa, there are many excellent ways to do just that.
Now a new platform is available. And it's a pretty neat idea.
Re-Volv is a non-profit organization that allows you to make tax-deductible donations that are used to install solar on the rooftops of community-based non-profits and coops—groups which can't typically benefit from the tax incentives associated with solar. Those groups then pay Re-Volv back over time from the money they are saving on their power bills, and that money in turn creates a seed fund for future solar projects.
So far, three solar installations have been completed—including Other Avenues Food Cooperative, Kehilla Synagogue and Shawl Anderson Dance Center—all in California. but bigger things are afoot. I spoke briefly with Executive Director Andreas Karelas the other day, and he tells me that the game plan is to develop 200 or so projects in the next three years. At that point, the seed fund will have grown to such a size that returns on existing installations will churn out enough money for an additional installation each and every month, whether or not further funding is created. Given that each project completed so far has drawn significant support from both inside and outside each community it was located in, I suspect it's a fair bet that additional contributions will keep flowing too.
Having started in California, the group is branching out in several new states—establishing environmental fellowships that will bring in new projects and help seed solar in many more communities. Crucially, I think, Re-Volv isn't just focusing on putting panels on specific roofs. By involving the community, the group is also educating neighbors and supporters of each project it works with—hopefully sparking many more installations in each community.
Here's an overview of how it works: