BECKLEY WV, (WOAY)- At 611 North Kanawha Street in Beckley, inside what kids call a castle-like home, you’ll find one of the 21 Just for Kids Child Advocacy Centers in West Virginia.
This center, though, has just unveiled its new solar system in a ribbon cutting on Oct. 25. They had recently purchased the property for their center and worked with locals and organizations to reduce living costs. Going solar was the way to go.
Scott Miller, the executive director of Just for Kids Child Advocacy Center, explained the change to solar.
“One of the things that we were hoping for, that I was really hoping for, was how do we keep our costs down, because we had free rent at the United Bank building. This was a fairly expensive purchase. One of the things that I was looking at was solar energy. And then there was an article in the paper, and one of our major donors, Joe Golden and his wife, Peggy Burkhart said well, we would be happy to jumpstart that process, and they gave us a generous donation,” Miller said. “This system, which cost $20,000, cost us $500. Forty-percent of the costs are saved by federal incentives. And then a number of grants that we’ve received. We will have free energy for 20 years for $500.”
Just for Kids received a grant for the project from the Appalachian Solar Finance Fund. The fund was created and administered by Appalachian Voices. The amount totaled more than $17,000.
The company that worked on the new solar system at Just for Kids is West Virginia’s own Solar Holler.
“One of the things that we love to do across the Appalachian region is bring affordable electricity options to places like Just for Kids. With the [Inflation Reduction Act] passing, one of the things that’s happened for nonprofits and churches is that they can take advantage of the same tax credits that businesses have taken advantage of for years and years,” Thomas Ramey, commercial solar evaluator for Solar Holler, said. “With this system behind me, they’re going to be able to take advantage of a 40% tax credit that will come back as a direct payment from the federal government, which made the system extremely affordable and is going to save them thousands and thousands of dollars.”
Besides helping Just for Kids save money on the costs of living, why is having solar panel important to them?
“I’ve sold several systems to businesses,” Ramey said, “To be able to see a system that stands, that feeds energy to a nonprofit, that helps children, and to know that the money that would have went to the electric company and the higher rates, is going to go back into the programs to help more kids, is super meaningful.”
“Children are our future,” Miller said. “Solar really is something that I see as something that will make a difference for our kids. And so, what better place to do it than here where we’re serving the kids.”