Sustainable Neighborhoods: Solar Panels For Garden Valley Food Pantry

ideastream is launching an occasional series looking at neighborhood sustainability projects – small efforts by residents to help make their communities greener.

The food pantry at the Garden Valley Neighborhood House on Cleveland’s east side feeds 100 families three times a week. It’s the biggest draw for the community center and also one of the biggest draws of electricity.

Volunteer Cedric Redden says bills can reach $2000 a month.

RE-volv, a national group with a long list of high profile supporters, is offering to help via a $60,000 crowdfunding campaign to install 75 solar panels on the center’s roof. The panels will provide 22 kilowatts (kW) of power and cover about 45 percent of the center’s electricity needs.

The Garden Valley Neighborhood House will then pay RE-volv back over a 20-year lease.

“I think it will open so many other doors for us,” said Redden. “The solar panels can save on a lot of money where we can actually improve and do more with other programs, put more money into other programs instead of the lights.”

Interested in going solar?

In early 2019, Cuyahoga County will begin its third year of a residential solar co-op program, which takes residents through each step it takes to go solar – from cost estimates and analysis to finding a contractor. Contact Luke at Solar United Neighbors.

Over the last two years, 80 residents have had solar panels installed.

The cost of installing solar panels depends on the size of the system. According to EnergySage, an “online marketplace” for solar energy, a 6 kW system can cost between $10,000 and $13,000 in Ohio, after a 30 percent federal tax credit.

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