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Everybody Solar Helps Homeless

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 Everybody Solar Helps Homeless

Everybody Solar (everybodysolar.org/), an award-winning solar energy nonprofit, announced that it has reached its fundraising goal to add 63 solar panels (19.5 kW) to the headquarters of Committee on the Shelterless (COTS), a nonprofit that helps homeless adults and families meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and safety and move towards stable independence.

In 2015, Everybody Solar kicked off a crowdsourced fundraising campaign to help double COTS’ existing ten year old 20 kW array, and reduce the shelter’s electricity costs by an additional $8,000 per year through solar. Everybody Solar has successfully generated over $50,000 in donations for the expanded solar energy array through generous donations from individuals, inverter manufacturer Enphase Energy, module manufacturer JinkoSolar and California solar installer Solplicity.

Volunteers began installing the solar panels at Committee on the Shelterless on Friday, October 28, 2016.

The installation is the first project of two that Everybody Solar is planning to complete with COTS. The solar nonprofit also plans to help COTS cover 100% of its energy costs at its permanent veteran housing facility with 27 JinkoSolar panels and Enphase micro-inverters. Everybody Solar is still in the process of raising funds for the solar array at the veterans’ housing facility, but hopes that with additional contributions (everybodysolar.org/our-work/solar-projects/182...) they can fuel COTS’ mission with additional solar early next year. Once both systems are up and running they will produce enough clean energy annually to fully power the equivalent of seven average homes. COTS’ headquarters, the Mary Isaak Center provides 322 beds of emergency shelter and serves 120 hot meals per day, providing much needed support for Sonoma County’s families and individuals in the greatest need.

“This project embodies the true spirit of COTS collaborative vision for Sonoma County: bringing together so many wonderful community partners to expand our solar energy and virtually eliminate our electricity expenses at the Mary Isaak Center” said Mike Johnson, CEO of Committee on the Shelterless.  “Our savings will be put to efficient use helping people to transform their lives and get back under roofs of their own – and maybe someday, those roofs will have solar panels too!”

Volunteers from both Enphase Energy and JinkoSolar will add their sweat and muscle to the project to go with their organizations gifts of the micro-inverters and solar modules that will power the array. Enphase Energy, which is also based out of Petaluma, California was the projects first supporter and is donating 63 of its micro-inverters to optimize and monitor the energy production of each individual panel.

“We are honored to be part of the outstanding partnership that will make a real difference in our community by adding solar to COTS,” said Pete Brown, Senior Director at Enphase Energy. “The team at Enphase is pleased to be able to donate microinverters and looks forward to helping install the solar array.”

JinkoSolar donated 212 of its high efficiency solar modules in January 2016 to help Everybody Solar cover 3 non-profit projects, including COTS, which will use 63 JinkoSolar solar panels to run the solar array being installed this week.

“It is great to see the positive effects of our module donation on the local community,” said Nigel Cockroft, General Manager of JinkoSolar (U.S.) Inc. “We were humbled to learn that our contribution not only helped Everybody Solar reach its crowdfunding goals, but also allowed COTS to reinvest the savings in the homeless community of Sonoma Valley.”

The project also received a major boost from solar installer Solplicity, which donated $17,100 to the project after committing to give $100 for every solar energy system they designed for customers in December 2015.

“This Solar system will save COTS on their monthly energy bills, allowing them to put more resources into helping people rebuild their lives. The team at Solplicity feels honored to be a part of helping COTS achieve their mission of helping Sonoma County’s homeless families, veterans and adults find housing for good.”