Why Solar on Habitat Homes?

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Benefits to partner families

  • 75% of Virginia households suffer from an unaffordable electricity burden
  • Solar greatly reduces this burden for the entirety of the mortgage term.
  • A 4 kW solar system (10-12 solar panels) produces approximately 500 kilowatt hours of electricity each month, saving homeowners $50-60, depending on the service provider.
  • Solar will protect partner families from proposed electricity rate increases of 3.6% each year for the next 10 years or more.
  • Generating and monitoring their own electricity incentivizes households to pay closer attention to energy efficiency, electricity production, and electricity usage.
  • Solar homeowners can choose to sell their Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) to supplement their income (SRECs are currently worth $15-20 per month for 4kW solar homeowners, Jan. 2022).

Benefits to Habitat affiliate

  • Expands the local donor base and improves the security of the affiliate’s loan portfolio.
  • Solar barnraisings increase opportunities for media exposure.
  • Broadens the Habitat brand by focusing on the affordability of operating a home as well as creating climate-change solutions.

What is needed from an affiliate?

  • Affiliates must have a volunteer, board member or staff person who is interested in implementing solar programs. This person will liaise with GiveSolar to implement programs.
  • Habitat affiliates must prioritize energy efficiency in their home building and renovations.
  • Interest in carrying out a fully funded solar pilot project.
  • Interest in implementing a long-term sustainable solar program (five years or more).
  • Willingness to incorporate solar systems into house plans and construction processes.

What is possible?

  • Partnering with a solar installer who is willing to install at a reduced cost.
  • Funding for a pilot project from the Rotary Club, a Just Pax Fund grant, or motivated local donors.
  • A statewide effort to create solar programs within all interested Habitat affiliates.

Benefits for the planet

  • Helps to establish the expectation that affordable housing can achieve net-zero emissions.
  • Each 4 kW solar system reduces greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to planting 120 trees in a year.
  • Establishes that solar is for everyone, regardless of income.

Assistance provided by GiveSolar

  • Grant funding for a solar pilot project.
  • Assistance in choosing an appropriate building site for solar pilot project.
  • Identifying a local solar installer who is willing to install at a reduced cost.
  • Assistance in organizing an inaugural solar barnraising.
  • Resources for media and donor relations.
  • Resources for developing a sustainable solar program (Solar Access Toolbox).
  • Resources for integrating solar energy into the fundraising strategy of the affiliate.
  • Access to donated solar materials and statewide grant funding.
  • Access to GiveSolar’s donor database.

Actual Habitat homeowner electric bill after installing solar

The solar system went into service on April 22, 2021. Learn more

photo of electric bill after solar install