RE-volv uses crowdfunding to finance solar for community-based nonprofits. These organizations save money on their electric bills while paying a lease to RE-volv, which reinvests the payments in a revolving fund to finance new solar projects. RE-volv has crowdfunded ten nonprofit solar projects in CA, WI, PA, and ME and is on track to install fifteen projects by October 2018. RE-volv has a matching grant from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and has won a Green Power Leadership Award for its Solar Ambassador Program training college students to be the next generation of clean energy leaders.
Solarize Philly is the first citywide solarize initiative in Philadelphia. A Solarize campaign allows a group of homeowners to install solar together at a reduced price. Led by the Philadelphia Energy Authority, the team’s goal is to add 2.5 MW of PV on 500 homes in the city. As of July, more than 1,500 households have expressed interest in participating and 11 contracts have been signed. Three solar installation companies have been selected and solar equipment manufacturers and distributors have submitted proposals that will help further drive down costs.
RREAL, a team based out of Backus, Minnesota, has made great strides to impacting their community in the Solar in Your Community Challenge. The team has installed the first community solar array in the country that was developed in partnership with the country's energy assistance program, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Their partnership with the energy assistance program allows the team to target low to moderate income residents who are in "energy poverty," an issue affecting over 33 million households in the U.S. These residents are seeing direct cost savings on their energy bills. RREAL believes their shared solar array will increase the number of families that are served by the tribal energy assistance program. On August 14th, RREAL will be celebrating the ribbon cutting of its 160kW community solar system on the land of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Native American Tribe in Northern Minnesota. The project, completed in partnership with LEECH LAKE Energy Assistance Program, will benefit 100 people PER YEAR by reducing their energy bills by 10-25%. This will be the first shared solar array installed on Native American land.
The Thrifty Community Solar team hosted a Barn Raising in June 2017, installing 150 panels in 4 hours with over 50 volunteers. Check out the video here.