Arizona sun to power seven Tucson nonprofits

By Hannah Arndt on October 3, 2022

Seven Tucson nonprofits are going solar thanks to the Nonprofit Solar Project. The Nonprofit Solar Project is a partnership between the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA) and Solar United Neighbors (SUN). It launched in April, 2022. The goal is to help nonprofits in Pima County go solar. It is funded primarily through generous support from an anonymous CFSA donor. Tucson Foundations also contributed $100,000. Tucson Electric Power contributed $15,000 towards this year’s funding.

Thanks to this project, seven Tucson nonprofits will be awarded a total of $630,000 to go solar:

SUN worked with CFSA and a special community committee. Together we reviewed nearly 70 grant applications for the project. We generated system size and cost estimates for each application, in order to inform the number of participants that could be selected within the project budget. Solar United Neighbors will work with each nonprofit to select their preferred solar installer.

“We were thrilled to receive so much interest from a variety of organizations in going solar in the Tucson area,” said Bret Fanshaw, Arizona Program Director for Solar United Neighbors. “We couldn’t be more excited to help these seven incredible nonprofits make their solar vision a reality.”

Once installed, these nonprofits will be able to meet a large part of their energy needs through solar power. Switching to solar will lower their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint. This will free up resources for programming or other infrastructure needs.

“The installation of solar power is like a monthly gift through reduced energy costs for decades to come,” shared Jenny Flynn, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona. “Two of the most significant barriers to a vibrant Southern Arizona are environmental risks and inequity. By coming together through CFSA’s Environmental Sustainability Impact Fund, members of our generous community have directly and simultaneously addressed those barriers by connecting these seven nonprofit organizations with technology that saves them dollars and reduces their environmental impact.”

The selected nonprofits do a variety of work in the community.  BICAS provides free bicycle education and repair. Coyote TaskForce works with adults living with serious mental illness. It provides employment services and engages in public awareness, and advocacy. The Drawing Studio offers education and fellowship to artists in a non-traditional setting. The Edge School serves high school students who have dropped out of school, or who are at risk of doing so.

Emerge! Center Against Domestic Violence works to build a community where everyone can live free of domestic violence. The Sonoran Glass school inspires people of all ages to discover the wonder of glass art. Youth On Their Own provides services to youth experiencing homelessness.

Ed Sakwa, Chief Executive Officer at Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse shared, “We believe that serving this community in a way that is inclusive, responsible, and equitable requires that our operations also be sustainable. Going solar will allow Emerge to lessen our carbon footprint and the energy costs of operating a facility that serves survivors 24/7/365.”

The Nonprofit Solar Project recipients also hope to inspire other organizations to switch to solar.

“The time has come for all organizations to lead the way towards a sustainable future. With this grant, we will be a neighborhood example of how to be a solar energy champion,” shared Emiel Brott, Executive Director of the Drawing Studio.