Sun Club™ Donates $285,000 on Texas Solar Road Trip

The Green Mountain Energy™ Sun Club™ embarked upon a “Solar Road Trip” today to donate a total of $285,000 to nine non-profit organizations across Texas. The money is earmarked specifically for solar energy and educational content. Over the next 7 days, the Sun Club team will trek from non-profit to non-profit in our Prius, bringing extra doses of sunshine to a myriad of worthy missions!

The Sun Club program has donated more than $2.3 million and 600 kilowatts of solar power to more than 54 non-profits since 2002, and will be writing nine separate big checks to non-profit organizations that were accepted for Sun Club solar installation donations in 2014.  By harnessing the power of the sun, these non-profits will have access to an abundant, pollution-free source of electricity.

The following non-profit organizations in Texas have been selected to receive Sun Club solar donations for 2014:

Camp Hope (Houston) $60,000 – ptsdusa.org
Texas Theatre (Dallas) $30,000 – thetexastheatre.com
Stonewall Jackson Elementary School (Dallas) $20,000
Dallas Academy (Dallas) $30,000 – dallas-academy.com
Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches) $30,000 – sfasu.edu
Boys & Girls Club of Central Texas (Killeen) $35,000 – bgctx.org
Alpine Public Library (Alpine) $25,000 – alpinepubliclibrary.org
Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas (Bayview) $35,000 – gsgst.org
Sea Turtles, Inc. (South Padre Island) $30,000 – seaturtleinc.org

“One by one, we’ve worked with incredible organizations to support sustainable best practices, educate on renewable energy, and contribute to the important work they do in each of their communities,” Tony Napolillo, Sun Club Program Manager, said. “These projects are a testament to our customers’ and employees’ long-lasting commitment to renewable energy, and we look forward to an even brighter future.”

Follow the Sun Club Solar Road Trip and receive updates on the installations at gmsunclub.com.

Pictures from the donation events will be added to Green Mountain Energy’s Flickr stream.

You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter for regular photo updates and postcards from the road.

Tony’s Travel Log:

1 Hybrid Car, Two Guys, 6 Days, 10 Non-Profits, 2 Solar Arrays Dedicated, $285,000 Donated.

Day 1: Time to Depart!

12/15/13

I love road trips! Especially when I get to do something else besides tell the kids to stop fighting or else our trip to Disney is cancelled. JP Novak, (our solar installer from Native) and I set out in the early afternoon for San Angelo today. He’s never been in West Texas which I think is a shame so I insisted we stop at Cooper’s BBQ in Llano so he can see what all the fuss is about. Didn’t take him long to figure it out. Tomorrow is the first event on this six-day, 1,600-mile, carbon-neutral, hybrid-driving road trip to spread the good word about solar energy and the incredible good deeds we’re able to accomplish through the Sun Club thanks to our generous members. I’m so excited and humbled to be the Sun Club’s ambassador and proclaim the brilliant news about solar energy all around this great state!

12/16/13

Day 2: “Why yes, I always travel with a giant lightswitch and oversized checkbook.”

Boy howdy, what a great start to our first full day on the road! A cold start with temps in the 30s made the solar car port dedication at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts a bit brisk but we had a great turnout with about 50 kids in attendance. The mayor even made an appearance and posed in a selfie with us! He’s a good guy. We finished that event with the announcement of our solar art contest winners then it was on the road to Killeen. While JP conducted his site assessment I presented the Boys & Girls Club folks a check for $30,000 to build a solar array. I love this organization and what they do to help kids. We’re so proud to be working with them and hope that it inspires the installation of solar on many more clubs across the country. On to Dallas!

12/18/13

Day 4: The wheels keep turning. The sun keeps on shining.

Excitement and gratitude. Those two words pretty much sum up this solar road trip so far. And not just on the recipients’ ends. I’m excited to be making so many people happy while promoting solar energy. I’m grateful for the job I have and the incredible people I’ve met along the way whose stories have inspired me. Last night we had a great time with about 100 supporters of the recipient orgs and Green Mountain at the Texas Theater as we presented big checks to Dallas Academy, Stonewall Elementary, and the historic theater graciously hosting the event. After the check ceremony we played the Lorax which the kids and adults loved.

Today we headed into the piney curtain of east Texas to present a check to Stephen F. Austin University to install an array on their new environmental education building. The wonderful staff invited us to stay for a home-cooked lunch. Such hospitality! Then our final stop of the day at Camp Hope, operated by the PTSD Foundation. We are honored to help this fantastic non-profit reduce their energy costs and put the saved funds back into their mission of helping veterans of war with much needed services.

JP and I are overwhelmed by the graciousness, gratitude and excitement from everyone we meet. Although we are technically the one’s giving gifts we feel like they are giving us so much more.

12/20

Day 6: 1,775 Miles of a Solar-Powered Optimism

Well, the first-ever Sun Club Solar Road Trip has come to end with incredible success! From Sunday through Friday we traveled 1,775 (carbon-free) miles around Texas. As far west as San Angelo; as far east as Nacogdoches. North to Dallas and down to the border of Mexico at South Padre Island. It was there that we awarded $30,000 to Sea Turtle, Inc to help them with their mission to save the endangered sea turtle through solar lamps in the new parking lot. Nearby we then awarded $35,000 to the South Texas Girl Scouts to install a solar pavilion at their camp, offering shade and solar education to the girls they serve. It will also pay for a one-of-a-kind Sun Club Solar Patch which the girls will earn by participating in a solar education program!

The previous day we flipped the switch on the array at Miller High School in Corpus Christi and awarded a past Sun Club recipient, Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi, with the Sun Club Solar Leader Award. We present this award to recipients who go out of their way to use their donation to promote solar energy.

Before we headed back to Austin we stopped by to visit our friends at the Valley Nature Center in Weslaco, the last 2013 recipient to dedicate their array. The new educational building will be completed next spring. The array is already on the roof and just waiting for the electricity to be installed. Stay tuned for this one.

As I mentioned previously, we were overwhelmed with the amount of enthusiasm, gratitude and optimism poured upon us at each stop. There is no doubt that we chose the right recipients for 2013 and 2014. I can’t wait to head back to each stop next year, see what our Sun Club funds have built and celebrate the amazement of solar power with the communities we serve. Thank you to everyone who supports the Sun Club. Please visit www.gmsunclub to help us help more non-profits go solar by making a one-time contribution or to become a member.