Seeing a need for nonprofits to have fundraising opportunities to help pay for solar installations, 1st Light Energy launched its Benevolent Solar Fund earlier this week.
The fund, controlled by 1st Light, makes a donation to the nonprofit in the names of organization members who install solar after attending informational seminars organized by the nonprofit.
It all started with a project in New Jersey, said 1st Light vice president of sales and marketing Barrett Peck.
St. Benedict Catholic Church in Holmdel, New Jersey wanted to install solar and was having a number of fundraising activities to pay down the cost of the system, so it could be a money saver right away.
“We were trying to figure out how we could support them in those efforts,” Peck said. That’s when 1st Light decided to organize what is both a major marketing opportunity and a way to raise funds for nonprofits.
When a nonprofit school, municipality, church or other organization gets at least 30 people together for a seminar, 1st Light staff take the opportunity to explain solar and how it works, what the incentives are and what the costs are. If anyone from the group decides to install a solar system on their homes or businesses, 1st Light makes a $500 or $1,000 tax-deductible donation to the nonprofit in the home or business owner’s name.
The idea gives parishioners and group members even more tax savings and helps the organization.
“There seems to be a downspike in charitable giving in this economy,” Peck said. The Benevolent Solar Fund offers group members a new way to give back to the organization.
Nonprofits typically don’t buy their solar installations, Peck said. They usually lease them or enter into power purchase agreements.
“The incentives for solar are based so much on taxes,” Peck said. “It usually doesn’t make sense for them to buy.”
The program also presents a great marketing opportunity for 1st Light, which gets an introduction to a large captive audience from a trusted nonprofit, Peck said.
Image courtesy of St. Benedict Catholic Church