Many nonprofit organizations would like to install solar panels. But the upfront costs can be prohibitive for groups on tight budgets.

So an organization in Wisconsin has created a financing model to help community groups go solar.

Elise Couillard is with Legacy Solar Co-op. Through the group’s Slice of Sun solar bonds program, co-op members can invest in 12-year bonds that help cover the cost of solar arrays at nonprofits and community groups.

Bond holders earn interest while supporting a cause they believe in.

“Our members are some of the fiercest supporters of solar,” Couillard says.

In 2021, the program helped finance solar arrays at a chapter of the Humane Society, a Boys’ and Girls’ Club, an elementary school, a senior community, and several other organizations.

Couillard says the solar helps these groups lower their utility bills and direct more funds to their core missions.

“So any money that they’re not having to spend on their electrical bills can go towards a new staff member. It can go towards care for their residents,” she says. “We know that these nonprofits and these community organizations are doing such amazing work, and we can help accelerate that amazing work by freeing up more funds for them to do so.”

Also see: An introduction to the state of solar power in the U.S.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media