Update on Veteran's Outreach Solar Panels!
Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin Powers Up New Solar Array for Community Center and 15 Tiny Houses
Racine, WI - On Wednesday, February 6th, at 10:30 AM, Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin will celebrate the installation of a 19.8-kilowatt solar array at the Veterans Village Community Center at 1624 Yout Street in Racine. Contributing partners RENEW Wisconsin, Walden III High School, and installer Arch Electric will also share in the celebration. Veterans Outreach will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion and commissioning of the project.
Plymouth-based Arch Electric installed nearly 60 solar panels atop the Veterans’ Community Center in October. This building gives veterans access to a full-sized kitchen with food pantry, a laundry room, restrooms with showering facilities, and a recreation area where the residents can socialize. In addition to providing the Community Center with electricity, the solar array also powers the 15 tiny-homes at the Veterans Village. These tiny homes provide the veterans with a television, a small storage space, and their own beds.
"It was an honor to be involved with the solar installation at the Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin,” said project manager Angie Domagalski of Arch Electric. “The tiny homes’ project addresses a very important need of our nation's homeless veterans and is an innovative model that should be replicated nationally. Incorporating solar into this project will ensure that this program is fiscally and environmentally sustainable for decades to come.”
The solar installation received funding support through Solar for Good, an initiative from the renewable energy advocates at RENEW Wisconsin. Solar for Good is primarily funded by philanthropists Cal and Laurie Couillard of Deerfield, WI. Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin was awarded a $10,000 grant from Solar for Good in 2017 to assist in the funding of the solar arrays.
“In the 21st century, electricity is a basic need and these panels help fulfill that need for our homeless veterans,” said program manager Sam Dunaiski of RENEW Wisconsin. “By substantially reducing their utility bills, Veterans Outreach will be able to invest more money back into the fantastic programs that help our ex-service members. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Veterans Outreach worked with multiple partners to complete the project, including Walden III, a magnet middle/high school that focuses on the environment and sustainability. The Walden students directly raised over $9,000 for the solar project. The students also held an online auction which contributed an additional $20,000 to the Veteran’s fundraising efforts.
“Community service and environmental sustainability are core values at Walden III,” said Tom Rutkowski, a former teacher at Walden. “Through their organizing efforts and fundraising for the Veterans Village, Walden students were able to help the veterans by providing energy for many years while lowering the carbon footprint of the village.”
By raising over $20,000 for the project, the students’ efforts also triggered a $10,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor. In addition to the Solar for Good grant, the Veterans’ project was also awarded a Focus on Energy prescriptive grant. Veterans Outreach paid for the rest of the project with their own funding, costs they plan to recoup through offset electricity bills.
The nearly 20-kilowatt array will cut the organization’s electric use by 85% and will save the organization almost $4,000 in annual utility costs. The array has already produced over 2,600 kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable electricity and will continue to operate for another 25 to 30 years.
WALDEN GREEN SCHOOL UPDATE JANUARY 2018
Walden's environmental club, Green School is partnering with Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin
to raise money for a solar panel installation on their community center.
The Journal Times published a great article about the Green School Goal recently. Link is attached below.
ONLINE DONATION LINK FOR VETERAN'S OUTREACH SOLAR PANELS
In November 2006, a group of Walden III students and teachers worked collaboratively to form the Walden Green School Initiative. Since that time, the Walden community has been working to make the school's campus more sustainable, encourage healthier living and show that everyone has a contribution to make.
Walden III is the first school in Racine County to emphasize our responsibility to the environment. The projects and activities of the Green School Initiative are chosen by students who are then helped by teachers. These projects include having a school-wide recycling program, having solar panels installed on the school and planting trees in the neighborhood surrounding the school.