By Lori Singleton, director of customer programs and operations support, Salt River Project
The Desert Botanical Garden, located in Phoenix, Arizona, is home to more than 50,000 desert plant displays that thrive on the sunshine of the desert Southwest. Each year more than 600,000 people visit the 140-acre garden to learn about the desert ecosystem and explore the natural setting.
Now, thanks to the generosity of Salt River Project customers, the conservation-focused organization meets some of its own energy needs through the sun.
Our Solar for Nonprofits program helped finance the installation of a solar photovoltaic system on the rooftops of four Desert Botanical Garden buildings. The systems cumulatively add up to 100 kilowatts of emission-free, green energy to the Desert Botanical Garden’s Horticulture Center, Weisz Learning Center, Marley Education and Volunteer Building, and Ottosen Gallery. The organization expects the installation will help them to save nearly $13,000 a year on their electric bills.
“As a conservation organization, Desert Botanical Garden tries to set a good example for energy conservation and the responsible use of resources,” said Desert Botanical Garden Executive Director Ken Schutz. “This gift from SRP and the community has moved us light years ahead of where we were.”
The botanical garden is the latest beneficiary of an SRP program that has been helping local nonprofit organizations lower their energy bills while reducing their carbon footprint for more than a decade.
We introduced the Solar for Nonprofits program in 2007, which allows customers to donate as little as $3 each month on their electric bill to fund solar energy systems for charitable organizations. The program formed out of a desire to help our nonprofit customers and also includes our retail customers as part of the charitable effort.
Customers showed enthusiasm for the program right from the start, and more than 4,000 customers currently participate in the program. Since its inception ten years ago, we have been able to complete 57 solar photovoltaic installations resulting in savings of nearly half a million dollars in energy costs for local organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix, Liberty Wildlife, and Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona.
As the largest provider of energy to the Phoenix metropolitan area, at SRP we believe in giving back to the communities we serve. We are proud that our customers believe in contributing to the community as well.