solar coop roof pic 2 webUWM Solar Ambassador Program helping to bring solar to Riverwest Co-op

A team of students at UW-Milwaukee is working with RE-Volv, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, CA, to bring solar to the Riverwest Co-op. The students are participating in the RE-volv’s Solar Ambassador Program, with mentorship from a UWM Faculty advisor, Dr. Wilkistar Otieno. The objective is to work together to empower students and community members to invest collectively in renewable energy.

The Solar Ambassadors will be using RE-volv’s community-based solar financing model to finance the solar energy system for the co-op. RE-volv crowdfunds donations from people to cover the upfront costs of a solar installation. Once the solar energy system is powering the co-op with clean energy, the co-op will pay RE-volv back over time through a solar lease. The money is reinvested into more community projects, just like this one, creating a revolving fund for solar energy in communities around the country. The UW-Milwaukee Solar Ambassadors will launch a crowdfunding campaign in early 2016 to help the Riverwest Co-op go solar!

RE-volv’s mission is to empower people and communities to invest collectively in renewable energy. RE-volv has received support from the US Department of Energy, and is a member of the White House’s National Community Solar Partnership, an initiative to increase solar access for all Americans. RE-volv partners with a number of organizations including the National Audubon Society and the Sierra Student Coalition, which is part of the Sierra Club.

The co-op goes beyond being a grocery store and café by providing a genuinely welcoming community. They attribute their 14 years of success to a business model that is focused on people. By supporting the Solar Ambassadors’ crowdfunding campaign, you will help finance a solar energy system for the Riverwest Co-op that will save them $40,000 in electric costs over the lifetime of the system. The money saved will help the co-op continue to serve its community.  Please stay tuned for the events planned during the campaign by visiting the co-op in January and visiting the co-op’s online calendar of events as well as the Riverwest Curents website.

See event below at Company Brewing featuring the Bluegrass Allstars and long time Co-op supporter Tom Schwark.

A chance to demonstrate solar power in Milwaukee.

A chance to be part of a crowd funding model that works to expand solar renewable energy.

A chance to work with Re-volv Solar Ambassadors from UWM to make it happen.

A chance to do this on the Riverwest Co-op and Cafe building in Riverwest.

I hope that Riverwest Co-op members and the community at large will support this campaign to raise money for the installation of solar panels on the Riverwest Co-op building.

This is a lease that will allow us to install the panels with no upfront costs nor maintenance  costs for the system.

The savings on our utility bill will exceed the cost of the lease and that is guaranteed.

I have met with the Re-volv team and the local ambassadors. An installer has been selected.

How can you participate? Watch for more information on the Currents website. Attend informational and fundraising events.

This model may allow other non-profits and co-ops in Wisconsin to install solar power without financial risks for the organizations.

Tom Schwark has gathered the Milwaukee Bluegrass Allstars to play at Company Brewing 733 E Center St on Saturday January 30th around 10 PM
in support of this campaign. Come and donate and learn more about Solar Leasing and Crowd Funding this project.

Thanks, Vince Bushell

Paula Gelbke and I, Vince Bushell, as owners of the Co-op building have agreed sign the lease for the project.