Glen Lake launches SolaRISE solar program

From staff reports

The Envirothon team at Glen Lake Schools is raising money for an 8kW, adjustable solar array at school. They will kick off an innovative fundraising drive based on the nonprofit clean energy crowdfunding website SolaRISE at halftime during tonight’s varsity basketball game against Leland.

The Glen Lake SolaRISE project is a renewable energy crowdfunding service powered by the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, a Traverse City-based nonprofit. Click here to learn more and to support Glen Lake’s project.

According to the Groundwork Center, “renewable energy projects have traditionally been out of reach for nonprofit organizations [and schools]. Federal and state tax rebates for investments in solar energy projects are only available to homeowners or to for-profit businesses. The up-front cost of installing these projects is prohibitive to organizations since fundraising typically goes to programs and running the nonprofit, but not to building infrastructure.”

Groundwork’s clean energy staff Dan Worth and Ric Evans helped match Glen Lake’s Envirothon team with the SolaRISE project.

“There are lots of folks who want to go solar, but have neither the tools nor funding to do so,” said Worth. “One of the functions of SolaRISE is to unstick those problems and turn them into solutions where Groundwork can bring our technical support, communications and fundraising expertise. Glen Lake is an amazing first project. This was created, proposed and developed by the students. It will be a learning tool for the next generation of energy leaders.”

The SolaRISE platform is funded by grants from the Mott Foundation, Department of Energy.

The total project at Glen Lake will cost $30,000. The Envirothon team—led by teacher Karen Richard—raised $10,000; the school district provided another $10,000 in matching funds; and local companies including Cherry Republic, Funistrada, Light of Day Organics, Buntings Cedar Market, Make House Printing and the Lions Club have chipped in another $5,000. The community is asked to contribute the remaining $5,000.

Worth reports that the solar installation could happen next May, just in time for Groundwork’s Clean Energy Conference in Traverse City on May 21, 2019.