The idea: Making solar energy affordable for nonprofits, schools, and other organizations, while also creating jobs.
The long-term benefit of solar energy is enormous; It is a free fuel source that can generate both electricity and heat with fewer greenhouse gases than other sources. It’s also a solution that has been out of reach for organizations like nonprofits, schools, churches, and municipalities.They don’t qualify for tax credits and other incentives that can halve the expense of the equipment and installation.
ReVision Energy, along with the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund and a handful of investors, is working to bring solar power to the community organizations that could most benefit from it.
This year, the Community Loan Fund became the first lender to ReVision Solar Impact Partners (RSIP), helping finance solar projects for five NH organizations. It uses a complex financial structure in which investors in a project get the tax benefits and the nonprofit host organization gets the benefits of clean, cheap, energy. Dan Weeks, ReVision’s Director of Market Development, calls the projects “energy endowments.”
One example is Mascoma Meadows Cooperative in Lebanon. ReVision installed a solar array at the resident-owned community (ROC) which is saving each household close to $270 annually.
Dan says the Community Loan Fund partnership is a natural fit. “The two organizations’ missions are so aligned. The Community Loan Fund supports more sustainable job growth, living-wage jobs, environmental conservation, economic sustainability for nonprofits and businesses, and ReVision works to add good green-economy jobs and help nonprofits and businesses save money with solar.”
ReVision is owned by its 250-plus employees, and recently launched a paid family and medical leave plan that it hopes will be an industry model. It also has opened a state-approved apprenticeship school to make it easier for young people learning the trades to have their coursework delivered both online and in person and tailored to their work schedule.
Dan says its collaboration with the Community Loan Fund is a strong selling point for ReVision. Nonprofits and potential investors see that connection as proof that ReVision has “established partners that really know finance and really know NH,” he said.
“That has added to our credibility, supported our growth, and allowed us to hire more employee-employers,” Dan says.
Know someone who needs financing to grow their business and create good jobs? Contact our Business Finance team.
This story was published in the Community Loan Fund’s 2019 annual report.