Over the last year, our team had the privilege of managing the Solar Moonshot Program for the second year in a row. In 2021, 42 nonprofit organizations were able to afford the switch to solar thanks to the $1,000,000 budget from Left Coast Fund, collectively installing 42 clean energy projects in 13 states. The Solar Moonshot Program helped energize 1,115.4kW of rooftop and ground-mounted solar and three solar thermal units, which collectively offset 27,800.5 metric tons of carbon, equivalent to over three million gallons of gasoline consumed or the energy usage of over 3,000 homes. These solar projects are creating healthier communities that have cleaner air, a greater quality of life, more green jobs and workforce training opportunities and reduced likelihood of developing health problems such as asthma that occur as a result of pollution.
Through the generous funding from Left Coast Fund and the partnerships that made these projects possible, communities are reducing their reliance on dirty fossil fuels, supporting the green economy, saving money that is being reinvested in the nonprofits’ missions and creating educational opportunities for community members. The solar photovoltaic and solar thermal projects simultaneously demonstrate the feasibility of clean energy for community members, many who do not have equitable access to these key climate solutions.
While the Solar Moonshot Program is intended to help nonprofit organizations go solar, tribal nations and communities as a whole can benefit from the funds available through partnerships with 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Funding from the 2021 budget year assisted a wide range of recipients, from community resilience hubs and community land trusts, to Indigenous communities, school districts and nonprofit organizations providing long-term solutions for houseless folx.
As noted in our Solar Moonshot Program - 2020 Highlights blog post, in early 2020, Hammond Climate Solutions was brought on to manage the “50 Solar States Project” by a San Diego-based philanthropist who provides funding through Left Coast Fund. This project was the original initiative behind the Solar Moonshot Program and intended to fund one solar project in each state in the U.S. The urgency of the climate crisis encouraged a pivot to focus on deploying solar as quickly as possible, rather than location, and the Solar Moonshot Program came to fruition as a result.
Along with last year’s $1,000,000 budget commitment, our team’s goal for 2021 was to fund 40 projects, with up to $25,000 being awarded to each participant. We reached this goal and assisted three solar thermal and 41 rooftop solar projects this year, for an average grant amount of $23,637. Since the program began in 2020, we have been able to help a total of 87 nonprofit organizations go solar!
Projects supported climate justice efforts throughout the U.S., spearheaded by 2021 grant recipients like Community Treehouse Center Detroit, a nonprofit organization that assisted 11 homeowners in the neighborhood of Jefferson Chalmers to go solar. The community of concern is located on the southeast side of Detroit and is already experiencing disproportionate effects of the climate crisis - efforts led by the organization’s founder and president, Tammy Black, are investing in the community’s future through programs that support persons with disabilities and mental wellness, entrepreneurship, green spaces, clean energy, financial wellbeing and more. The solar project will help reduce local climate injustices, create climate resiliency and reinvest in the organization’s mission of creating a safe and sustainable community where all folx can succeed.
The following organizations have received grants this past year and are collectively helping combat the climate crisis:
We are excited to announce that we’ll be managing the Solar Moonshot Program in 2022 thanks to generous support from Left Coast Fund and the BQuest Foundation! Project funding levels and prioritization will be based on the projects' financial need and installation timeline. Nonprofits interested in applying for a Solar Moonshot Program grant can visit the website, www.solarmoonshot.org. We invite you to follow us on social media to see our #SolarSaturday posts, which highlight the amazing nonprofit organizations going solar and helping create a more just and livable future. We can be found on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
If you know of a foundation or philanthropist interested in supporting the Solar Moonshot Program in 2022, further expanding our impact, please reach out to Tara at email@example.com.
Photo caption: Solar panel system located at Solidarity Farm in Pauma Valley, Calif., Apr. 8, 2021. (Photo/Aloha Solar Power)