Solar for all
Everybody Solar is breaking ground this week on its inaugural solar installation, a 21.5 kW project for Rebuilding Together Peninsula (RTP). The project was born from a successful fundraising effort that kicked off in May of last year and attracted over 100 individual and corporate donors. The installation will help power RTP’s Redwood City headquarters, saving the nonprofit over $150,000 throughout the system’s 25-year lifetime.
The solar energy revolution is sweeping through California, and homeowners and businesses are leveraging solar to improve their budgets and produce energy locally. Nonprofits – as non-taxable entities that do not qualify for tax credits – have traditionally been precluded from benefiting from solar incentives and shut out from solar leasing provisions. Through crowd-funding, Everybody Solar enables non-profits to get the same benefits from solar that homeowners and businesses get, allowing them to save money on their energy bill and thus them give more support to their communities.
In an interview with Youness Scally, Executive Director and Co-founder and Executive Director of Everybody Solar, Mr. Scally explains why the organization, a nonprofit itself, chose to help other nonprofits and the motivation behind Everybody Solar.
Liz Oh: Why donate to nonprofits? Why not schools or other community organizations?
Youness Scally: Schools are more able to finance solar projects than nonprofits because they can take advantage of financing and use city bonds more readily than a nonprofit can. Nonprofits are also a great target because they can impact the communities they serve, e.g., low-income family retrofits, thereby having a broader impact, and allowing the benefits from the donations to go even further.
LO: Why solar versus other forms of cost reduction like energy efficiency?
Scally: Solar is more tangible. Energy efficiency is important but solar has a very direct impact – you see the meter run backwards – and it is easy to measure. Part of our strategy is to perform an initial energy efficiency audit before installing solar so the target organization’s savings are greater and we don’t overbuild the system.
LO: What is the vision and inspiration behind Everybody Solar?
Scally: Climate change is a very serious problem and it impacts all of us. Community groups are often organizations that want to fight it, but have historically been prevented from taking key steps to reducing their emissions due to financing limitations. We started Everybody Solar to help these groups fight climate change, save money, and increase their capacity to help their communities. There are seven team members including myself; with the help of dozens of volunteers and generous sponsors like Jinko Solar, we are now breaking ground on an important effort that will be felt for 25 years or more. The ribbon-cutting will be in a few weeks, after we get the green light from the local utility.
Everybody Solar is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, CA. They work to protect the environment and strengthen U.S. communities through solar energy projects. By providing solar power to local charities, they help these organizations reduce electricity costs and direct their limited resources to the communities they serve. Everybody Solar is a charitable organization and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the public to perform its mission. Visit them at http://www.everybodysolar.org | http://www.facebook.com/everybodysolar | @everybodysolar.
Youness Scally is a Co-Founder of Everybody Solar and its first Executive Director. He has also served as President of the Board of Directors since 2011. Youness’ passion for clean energy and his concern for current and future generations drives his desire to expand the reach of the solar energy movement to the nonprofit realm. He is a CPA with over eight years of professional experience in Financial Management and Accounting. Youness guides Everybody Solar to run efficiently and compete in this internet-driven, crowd-funded nonprofit landscape.