Chatham Habitat for Humanity, August 2017

During NC WARN’s Solarize programs in 2014-16, a small percentage of each contract was put into a Sharing Solar fund to help lower-wealth North Carolinians share in the benefits of solar.

The last part of that fund was donated in August 2017 to Chatham Habitat for Humanity, which used it to create a revolving loan fund to put solar on the homes it builds. Two systems have already been installed on Habitat homes in Siler City as of December 2017.

Habitat reduces the cost of solar by using some donated equipment and labor. It pays for the installations from the revolving fund, then adds that cost to the no-interest home mortgage. This adds around $10/month to the homeowners’ mortgage payments, while saving around $30/month on their electric bills.

Other partners in the project are NextClimate, the Carrboro nonprofit that partnered with NC WARN on Solarize the Triangle in 2016, and United Solar Initiative, a Chapel Hill nonprofit that procures donations of equipment and labor.

Chatham Habitat is also partnering with Oak Ridge National Laboratories to use repurposed electric car batteries for solar electric storage and hopes to install the first prototype in 2018.