In February 2021, the board of directors of Central Valley Habitat for Humanity voted unanimously to support the effort to raise $100,000 for the Solar Seed Fund in the next year. By October 2021, GiveSolar raised over $127,000 for the Solar Seed Fund.
The Solar Seed Fund provides up-front funding to pay for the installation of four-kilowatt solar systems (twelve solar panels) on newly built Habitat homes in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, Virginia. GiveSolar partners with Green Hill Solar, a Harrisonburg-based solar installation company, to install the systems on Habitat homes. The Solar Seed Fund will make it possible to install twenty solar systems on Habitat homes in the next five years.
The project aims to address the challenge of accessibility of solar energy to households with low income. These homeowners often do not have the financial wherewithal to afford the up-front cost of solar energy. This project will draw on the fund to pay the $6,000 upfront cost of solar and will allow the homeowner to repay this cost over the term of their mortgage (twenty to thirty years). The money that is repaid by the homeowner will be returned to the Solar Seed Fund to pay for future solar installations on Habitat homes.
Solar will allow Habitat homeowners to save $40-50 per month on their electricity bills by generating their own electricity. After paying $20 per month to repay the cost of the solar system, homeowners will experience a net savings of $20-30 per month.
Photos by Rachel Colello