Nonprofit tackles high electric bills with solar
Forty-two years in the business of giving back, SHARE Outreach is a community staple. Now the team can do its good work while also doing something good for the environment.
In late August 2020, the nonprofit shrank its carbon footprint by going solar with Granite State Solar at its Milford headquarters, thanks to the generosity of their community.
SHARE Outreach provides assistance including food, clothing and emergency financial support for rent, bills (even medical bills), car repairs for lowerincome people in Milford and the surrounding region. And, as the operator of a food bank, the growing nonprofit also had a growing electric bill.
The cost of running massive refrigerators and freezers and keeping the nearly 12,000-square-foot facility cool during the summer is about $1,000 a month, said Chris Janson, executive director at SHARE. “We want to spend every penny we have for our mission and not overhead,” she says.
After a tip from its bookkeeper, SHARE looked to the Hillsborough County Area Renewable Energy Initiative (HAREI), an organization that implements more efficient and sustainable energy practices.
HAREI connected SHARE with Bow-based Granite State Solar, which installed 116 46.4kW QCell panels with 116 Enphase IQ7+ micro inverters.
“The roof couldn’t have been more perfect for solar,” says Alan Gauntt, owner and CEO of Granite State Solar. “It was totally unobstructed and had an ideal azimuth. Not to mention, the folks at SHARE we were in contact with were amazing.”
The community support organization was able to go solar because of the support from the community, said Janson.
“When we went out looking for donors to share the cost with us, we were amazed at how people jumped on this,” said Janson. In total, SHARE raised $90,000 to help fund the project.
One of the largest contributions came from a donor who wanted to help the environment by offsetting pollution produced by the use of traditional energy sources.
“Even if you’re not a green champion, the money side of it all just makes perfect sense,” said Janson.
By Jane Stromberg and Julia Westbrook
*Originally published in NH Business Review *