While 2020 was a year of tension and hardship, it was also a year that called for action — action that asked us to sacrifice our time, comfort, and money to give to our communities.
To give back to our communities that have helped us keep our business open during a tough year, Namaste Solar launched the Keep the Lights on Colorado campaign in November. We committed a $10,000 donation to Energy Outreach Colorado, a Denver-based non-profit, who will use the contribution to provide community solar garden subscriptions (CSG)* to families throughout Colorado who are struggling to pay their utility bills. We then asked the Colorado business community to join the campaign.
Thirteen Colorado companies supported our campaign, and together we raised $30,000, which translates to 120 families receiving a CSG subscription for a year. The subscriptions provide long-term stability in the form of monthly bill credits that reduce the burden of home energy costs and free up dollars for other basic needs for these families – all while utilizing the cost-saving and environmental benefits of clean solar energy.
Namaste Solar chose to work with Energy Outreach Colorado because we believe access to energy, especially clean energy, shouldn’t be available to only those who can afford it. With winter now here, low-income families and communities of color in Colorado are especially vulnerable to getting their power shut off. Thousands of Coloradans lost their jobs because of COVID-19, and Safer at Home policies have caused home energy use to increase. Energy Outreach Colorado programs offer immediate assistance to Coloradans to help folks make it through a challenging time.
According to Energy Outreach Colorado:
- One in four households struggle with a high energy burden.
- These households are spending a disproportionate amount of their income on energy bills. The energy burden on low-income households is three times that of higher-income households.
- Households that meet or are below the 80% area median income threshold are often making difficult decisions because their home energy can cost more than 20% of their monthly income.
Many thanks to the following businesses and organizations contributed to the Keep the Lights on Colorado campaign:
- Moye White Advanced Energy Group
- Aurora Organic Dairy
- Amalgamated Bank
- Alpine Bank
- Premier Members Credit Union
- Rule 4
- Trebuchet Group
- Conscience Bay Company
- BSW Wealth Partners
- The Colorado Sound
- Wild Goose Filling
- IMA Financial Group
The result of this campaign demonstrates the importance of pulling together as a community. It wasn’t the effort of one individual or one organization. It was the collective action of multiple entities and individuals, who care deeply about the community we live and work in, that made this impact possible.
The $10,000 allocation for our community stakeholder was the result of an employee-owner vote through our cooperative business model. This interconnectedness then flowed into the community when Namaste Solar employees took it a step further by asking local businesses to also commit to helping Colorado families afford their utility bills. The business community, made up of many fellow Certified B Corps and partners, answered the call. Without each of these pieces falling into place, the domino effect that resulted would have never happened. What started as a “yes” or “no” vote by co-owners snowballed into a project that empowered 120 families to keep the lights on in their homes.
Supporting our community is vital to not only the health of our state but the future of our families and businesses. When Colorado wins, we win.
*Community solar gardens are centrally located solar systems that people can gain access to through subscriptions. They’re typically an option for commercial properties and business owners who may have sustainability goals, renters, or people wishing to go solar but unable to afford a home-solar system on their own. The subscriptions provided by this campaign are not affiliated with projects built by or in benefit of Namaste Solar.