It's fair to say that the political climate has not felt too friendly to environmentalists of late. That's why I was delighted to hear from Andreas Karelas—Executive Director of RE-volv, about them winning an important grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) which should help improve access to solar energy for nonprofits around the country.
This organization—which I reported on last year—empowers individuals to make tax-deductible donations toward solar for community non-profits. Those donations then become part of a revolving fund as the non-profit reimburses RE-volv with some of the money it's saving, turning donations into an on-going source of revenue for new renewables. (This is particularly important because non-profits typically can't benefit from tax breaks and other incentives for clean energy.)
Here's the latest on the DOE grant, from RE-volv's press release:
RE-volv has won admission into the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar in Your Community Challenge, a DOE SunShot Initiative program to increase access to solar energy. The solar crowdfunding nonprofit will receive an initial seed grant of $60,000 (disbursed in increments based on completed milestones) and access to expert consulting to achieve its target of installing 100kW of solar for 10 nonprofits nationwide by October 2018. These funds support RE-volv training college fellows and community leaders to spearhead the crowdfunding and implementation of the community-based solar projects.
RE-volv has already crowdfunded six solar installations for community-based organizations using its model, and it's aiming to hit ten more by the end of 2017. The timing—of course—is important. The Solar in your Community Challenge program was appropriated last year, meaning funding should not be impacted by this years' budget. That said, we might want to dampen expectations for similar, government-led support of community solar in the future.
After all, what does reducing community non-profits' energy bills, empowering communities to raise funds for their institutions, or cutting harmful air pollution have with Making America Great Again?