Solarize Decatur-DeKalb has selected a DeKalb County nonprofit organization as the recipient of a donated solar installation.
As part of this successful Solarize campaign’s community solar program, Global Growers has been selected by the Solarize coalition to receive a solar array that will provide power to Bamboo Creek Farm, one of Global Growers farming locations in DeKalb County.
Global Growers, headquartered in Stone Mountain, is a community farming effort that provides economic opportunities for the county's resettled refugees, many of whom were farmers prior to living in Metro Atlanta. As a local nonprofit, they seek to increase the number of food producers who create access to healthy, sustainably-grown food and also to prepare farmers to be competitive in their local marketplace. "Most of the food grown by Global Growers farm families is consumed by recently arrived refugee families, many of whom are food insecure," says Robin Chanin, Global Grower's director. Additionally, Global Growers sells at area farmers markets and to local restaurants, generating more than $500,000 in sales on behalf of farmers over the last 6 years.
Members of the Solarize Decatur-DeKalb coalition agreed that a solar installation would have the biggest impact at one of Global Growers' farming sites, providing needed electricity to power multiple walk-in coolers used by the farmers, while at the same time saving money that can be used to fund Global Growers’ core mission initiatives.
Don Moreland of Solar Crowdsource and coalition partner said, “It is expected that the farm will save at least 40% on its electricity costs once the installation is up and running.” Additionally, the solar panels will be quite visible when installed on the farm and can provide further education to the wider community about the benefits of using solar right here in Georgia.
Solarize Decatur-DeKalb is a community-based solar PV bulk-purchasing campaign that is making solar more affordable and accessible for the citizens of Decatur and DeKalb County. Since it began in in September 2016, over 100 rooftops in DeKalb County now have installed solar arrays, generating over 800kw of solar power and making it the state's most successful Solarize campaign to date.
The donated solar installation for Global Growers is funded by Solarize Decatur-DeKalb partners that include Creative Solar USA, Hannah Solar, and Solar Crowdsource. The Solarize coalition also includes partners from DeKalb Citizens Council, Decatur’s Environment & Sustainability Board, as well as three other DeKalb nonprofits– Environment Georgia, Sierra Club, and Georgia Interfaith Power & Light.
“Solarize Decatur-DeKalb has been a successful community-led venture, with one of its biggest accomplishments being able to provide these donated solar panels to a worthwhile nonprofit right here in our backyard. We’re excited to see solar deployed alongside sustainable agriculture in the center of DeKalb County,” said Rev. Kate McGregor Mosley, coalition partner and director of Georgia Interfaith Power & Light.
The donated solar array is now being designed and is expected to be installed at the Global Growers site in early 2018 with the help of volunteers and farm staff working alongside Creative Solar USA, the designated solar for this project.