Earlier this week, Goodwill Industries of Central Florida went green by unveiling a solar array installed on the roof of its Oviedo retail store. As part of Goodwill’s “Solar for Good” initiative, the 140-kW, 12,000-square-foot array will generate cost savings to benefit job training and placement programs.
Orlando-based NovaSol Energy was the project’s developer, and Duke Energy supported the project with a SunSense grant. The 423-panel system will offset an estimated 80 percent of the store’s annual electricity needs. It is also part of Goodwill’s “Made in America” initiative and was manufactured by Suniva in the U.S.
Goodwill plans to compare electricity suppliers and install solar arrays at nine of its locations across Central Florida. There are some practical tips for solar installation. Over the next 25 years, the installations are expected to save nearly $5.4 million and divert nearly 59,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Defraying these costs will allow the nonprofit to provide job training and placement to an estimated 42,000 more Central Floridians.
“Sustainability is something we practice every day at Goodwill – turning generous donations from our community into job training and placement opportunities for Central Floridians,” said Bill Oakley, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Florida. “Generating Renewable Energy Today with Solar for Good is the next natural step, and we look forward to serving more job-seekers in our community through this initiative.”
The Oviedo array is Goodwill’s second Solar for Good project. In April 2014, Goodwill installed a 14,000-square-foot rooftop array on its Waterford Lakes Retail Store. Since then, the array has offset approximately 76 percent of the store’s total energy. Between the Waterford Lakes and Oviedo stores, Goodwill’s combined solar panels capacity is now 293 kW, enough to power over 28 average Floridian homes annually.
“We’re proud to take part in this project and help advance Goodwill’s mission,” said Haseeb Qadri, president and CEO of NovaSol Energy, the project’s developer. “When organizations like Goodwill invest in their own solar resources, it not only benefits their own bottom line, it also lessens the burden on the energy infrastructure, which benefits the entire community.”
NovaSol Energy also installs its solar arrays at no cost to qualifying large-scale commercial clients under a long-term leasing arrangement that provides for relatively flat monthly energy bills. Consider a solar hot water installation in Perth and save some money on your bills.
Duke Energy Florida state president Alex Glenn added, “At Duke Energy, we are looking for ways to help our customers meet their sustainability goals and expand their use of renewable energy. The $130,000 grant we provided will help cover the cost of the solar array and allow the nonprofit to focus more of its funds on its important mission – helping people. We are honored to play a small role in that.”
For more about the Solar for Good project connect with @goodwillcfl and @dukeenergy or follow #solarforgood and solar in San Luis Obispo County
And visit NRGUpgrade.com for more information about roofing.
Top 10 Things to Donate Before the End of the Year
In a season when many of us are focused on gift buying (and then, let’s face it, gift returning), December is a good time to think about another kind of giving: donating.
Even those of us who are tapped out of funds can still give back by donating used goods. You don’t have to spend money to be charitable — and the things lying around your house can have more of an impact than you may realize.
With a precious few days left in 2012, Goodwill Industries of Central Florida is counting down the top 10 things to donate before the end of the year—and letting you know exactly how much of an impact each item can have.
10. Computers Broken computers contain electronic parts that are hazardous to the environment if not disposed of properly. Don’t discard an old computer – recycle it through a program such as Dell Reconnect, or simply drop it off at your local Goodwill store.
Impact: Donating or recycling one computer and provide 6.6 hours of job skills training for someone like Wayne Quamina, who was forced to quit his long career in carpentry after suffering from congestive heart failure, but learned new skills through a Goodwill program. Today, he helps build parts for Gulfstream airplanes.
9. Kitchenware Get a new cooking set for the holidays? Don’t gift rid of your old pots and pans. Gently used kitchenware can be donated at most Goodwill locations.
Impact: Donate five kitchen items and provide 23 minutes of financial planning class for a single mom like Stephanie Gayle, who learned financial literacy, job search and placement strategies, and resume development that helped her land and keep a job.
8. Video Games Did you say your daughter or son just has to have the latest (and likely most expensive) video game this year? Make a deal: for every new gift, donate two video games they don’t play anymore.
Impact: Donate 10 video games and provide 47 minutes of on-the-job training for someone like Sarouet Ouk, who dropped out of school but found a green job and got back on track educationally, thanks to a Goodwill job training program.
7. Books Upgrading from paperbacks to a Kindle or iPad this year? You know where we’re going with this….
Impact: Donate 15 books and provide 26 minutes of career counseling for a veteran like Jason Tobey, a Marine Corps vet who struggled to find employment after being honorably discharged from the military.
6. CDs You’ve got all your songs saved on hard drives and mp3 players. Do you really need those hundreds of old CDs taking up space in the back of your closet?
Impact: Donate 20 CDs and provide 1.4 hours of a job search class for someone like Cheryl Godwin, an Army vet with kids in college who had never searched for a job before, but needed to find a way to make extra income and support her family.
Impact: Donate one bag of clothes and provide 1.1 hours of resume preparation for someone like Devin Williams, a person with a criminal background who struggled with addiction, but got his life back on track and is pursuing a career in environmental engineering.
4. TVs This one’s easy. If you upgraded to a flat-screen, you don’t need that old-school clunker sitting around in your basement.
Impact: Donate a used TV and provide 39 minutes of job training for someone like Tabitha Nobles, who was homeless after splitting up with her husband, but learned how to keep going through a Goodwill Career Connections class.
3. Bikes Yes, Goodwill and other thrift stores take big-ticket items like bikes. When your children have outgrown theirs, or you’ve moved on to a new bike, consider donating your old ones.
2. Gift Cards Billions of dollars in holiday gift cards go unused every year. You can donate an unwanted gift card—with any unused amount on it—to your local Goodwill.
Impact: Help provide a job for someone like Kris Jacques, who has been in a wheelchair from birth, and was long unable to find employers willing to give him a chance, until he landed a position as a greeter at a Goodwill store.
1. Cell Phones Unused cell phones are one of the fastest growing kinds of trash in America. Instead of throwing your old phone out, recycle or donate it.
Impact: Donating used goods of all kinds doesn’t just help clean out your closets—it provides valuable services to millions of Americans every year. And it’s easy. Join the Donate Movement and calculate your impact (http://donate.goodwill.org).
And if you are Central Florida check out http://www.goodwillcfl.org/