By Scott Alexander, Regional Director, North Carolina

Non-profits must continually look for ways to cut operational costs. The dreaded “overhead rate”, the metric many donors pay close attention to, needs to be as low as possible so that more money can be spent on programs and activities that benefit the community. While many non-profits have sustainability as a core value; most people assume that non-profits are much greener than they actually are. The reality is most non-profits are limited in their efforts to support a sustainable energy future due to the lack of financing.

Just as people are more likely to purchase goods produced by ethical and sustainable means, people want to support non-profit organizations that demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship and resilience. Good sustainability practices can increase growth and an organization’s reputation, all the while, reducing energy costs that directly affect overhead operational costs.

Here are three ways for non-profits in North Carolina to cut thousands from the operational budget and go green. Of course, Eagle Solar & Light can help you with any of these three ideas!

#3) Invest in LED lights: This is what we in the industry call “the low hanging fruit” because a small investment can go a long way in generating significant savings. Most people do not realize how much energy is consumed with just lighting- especially if you must illuminate a gymnasium such as organizations like the YMCA or Boys and Girls Clubs.

By switching to LED lights, a customer can see savings of 50% or more on their annual lighting expenses. Additionally, With Duke’s Smart Saver program, you can get rebates back on LED lights and fixtures. Replacing just the inefficient phosphorous tubes, (and recycling them!) is the easiest and cheapest method, but in some cases its worth replacing the entire fixture. Since LED lights typically use less than half the power of traditional lights, savings begin as soon as they turn on. LED lights also have a life span ten to 25 times longer than your typical incandescent or fluorescent bulb, saving even more in maintenance.

#2) Use a Lease to Install Solar: The use of solar energy has become a wide-spread method for homeowners, businesses, and non-profits to lower operational costs with the use of supplemental power provided by solar energy. Non-profits and businesses alike are also harnessing the marketability of renewable energy initiatives either through a visible solar energy system on their roof, or through marketing and outreach programs. However, one constraint for most non-profits is the up-front cash generally needed for a solar energy system. For non-profits in North Carolina, a lease for a solar energy system can make more financial sense than an outright purchase. Why?

Because, a fair and transparent lease, held by a group that can monetize the tax benefit, allows a non-profit to also take advantage of the tax incentives via a lower lease payment. Eagle Solar & Light seeks to structure our leases to be less than non-profits’ annual energy savings, and coupled with the Duke Energy Rebate, that means solar energy becomes a cash-flow positive investment. In other words, no additional money out this year’s budget! With warranties to 25 years or more, that translates to years of savings plus the strong visual reminder that your organization is invested in being sustainable.

#1) VOLUNTEERS!!!!: All of us from the non-profit world know how important it is to have a diverse and engaged group of stakeholders that contribute time, expertise and yes, even resources. So, it should be no surprise that developing a pool of talented volunteers to help you accomplish your organization’s mission is critical for your bottom line and probably the best thing you can do for your organization. We at Eagle Solar & Light fully appreciate how important it is to volunteer and that is why you will find us volunteering with the Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, the Black Warrior Riverkeepers, the Triangle YMCA, and other agencies that are doing good work in the communities that we live. And yes, it can indirectly help you go green!

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 13, 2018) — Daily, it is estimated that over 100,000 people travel Highway 280. Many have likely noticed the highway’s newest neighbor, SouthPoint Bank, in place of the former Kobe restaurant. What they cannot see while driving is the solar power that SouthPoint Bank is harvesting.

Eagle Solar & Light recently installed a 60-kilowatt solar system on the new bank. This system consists of two hundred and eight solar panels, or modules, and is designed to produce over 73,000 kilowatt hours of power annually. Solar power is not only good for the environment; it is also projected to save SouthPoint Bank over $10,000 per year on their utility bill.

“When we began the design process for our new headquarters, we knew this building needed to not only serve our need for space, but also to better our efficiency. Early on we decided to incorporate modern, clean energy technology to decrease our energy costs and make our contribution to environmental sustainability,” says SouthPoint Bank’s CEO Steve Smith. “At SouthPoint Bank, our goal is to look to the future and point forward with continuous improvement in technology. Utilizing solar energy within our corporate headquarters is one step toward achieving that goal.”

The solar panels selected by Eagle Solar & Light are produced in Jackson, Mississippi by Seraphim Solar. The use of American made solar panels defies the trend of using cheaper imported panels. Eagle Solar and Light trusts the quality of Seraphim Solar panels and backs their manufacturer’s 25-year warranty. Other American made components in this system are provided by SolarEdge and Snap’N’Rack.

“We were also able to meet our goal of supporting local companies by using a local contractor Eagle Solar & Light, plus using American solar panels rather than sourcing them from Asia,” says Smith.

“Using American made products means a lot to us and our customers, and that is why whenever possible we source our products from American companies,” says Eagle Solar & Light CEO, Sam Yates. “We strive to meet the goals of every customer we serve.”

As one of the first solar companies to open in the central Alabama region, Eagle Solar & Light provides architecturally advanced, aesthetically designed solar electricity, LED lighting solutions and energy saving products that offer long-term economic benefits.