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Wild for Solar: Celebrating Wildlife Associates' Solar Energy System

On August 15, 2015, an unusually hot and sunny Saturday, Wildlife Associates commemorated their new 27 kW solar energy system with a both wildlife and solar focused celebratory event at their sanctuary in Half Moon Bay, CA. 

The event was the culmination of a nine month process spear-headed by Everybody Solar to raise the funds and equipment necessary to bring a solar energy system to the Bay Area charity Wildlife Associates.

Nigel Cockroft, General Manager of Jinko Solar US, Dirk Herfurth, Director of Production and Supply Chains at Moutning Systems, Inc., and Reuben Veek, Executive Director of SunWork Renewable Energy Projects each spoke about their organizations' contributions to the project.

Brian Korgaonkar, of Enphase Energy who played an integral role in jump-starting the project with their early donation of 90 Enphase M-250 microinverters was unfortunately unable to attend but provided the following uplifting remarks regarding their efforts with the project:

On behalf of the entire Enphase Energy team, we could not be happier to donate our high-performance microinverter system to Wildlife Associates. When compared to traditional solar energy systems, the Enphase Microinverter System will allow Wildlife Associates to save an additional $1,000 per year on their energy bill, which will allow George the Anteater and Yoda the Kinkajou to make a lot more field trips to see youth across the Bay Area. 

It has also been a pleasure to work with Youness and the team at Everybody Solar, who dutifully guided our volunteers through the rooftop installation. This was no small task when you consider that at least one member of our team – who will remain nameless – has a lifelong fear of heights.

While ribbon cuttings are meant to celebrate past accomplishments, we know that this is not an ending but rather a beginning. We look forward to continuing our partnership with both Wildlife Associates and Everybody Solar over the years to come.

Special thanks also go to All Points North Foundation (APNF), a private foundation that supports projects that promote solar energy awareness and implementation, who awarded Everybody Solar with a prestigious $30,000 grant to cover the installation and ancillary equipment costs for the project.

Laura Staich, executive director of APNF, added, "We are pleased to have partnered with Everybody Solar to help Wildlife Associates reach its goal of going solar. As an organization dedicated to driving awareness, education, training and hands-on application of solar as a practical and cost-efficient energy source, we see first-hand the value solar can provide to important community organizations like Wildlife Associates. APNF is proud to help Wildlife Associates reach their goal of using solar energy to significantly reduce their energy costs so more money can be allocated to where it matters most, providing nationally acclaimed educational programs using their ‘wildlife teachers’ for children, families, and adults.”

But the highlights of the event were the wild ones from Wildlife Associates. With the help of their care-takers, PIG, a prehensile-tailed porcupine, Luna, a one-eyed great horned owl, and Katavi a black-throated monitor with aditute all provided a real life example of the impact that these wild teachers have on connecting us all to the natural world everywhere around us and on which we depend. 

To see pictures of the celebration, including the scary, but not real, Frankenstein-esque "on switch", click here. To learn more about the project itself and what the $9,000 a year that it will save Wildlife Associates click here and here

Thank you to everyone who helped make this project happen. From the volunteers who spent tireless hours fundraising, installing and perspiring, to the solar manufacturers who donated both time and materials and the foundations who found it in their hearts and budgets to sponsor this project, we give you our sincere thanks. We couldn't have done it without you!

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