Serenity House is a community outreach center of Arch Street United Methodist Church, based in North Philadelphia, a low-income community of color. One of the projects rooted at Serenity House is called Serenity Soular, which aims to build the green economy in North Philadelphia and train residents for jobs in the solar industry.
This spring, Serenity House is going soular! With support from RE-volv and your donation, Solar States (a local solar company) will install 5.6 kilowatts of photovoltaic panels on Serenity House, making the building almost entirely powered by the sun. Serenity Soular’s commitment to “the least, the last, and the lost” members of society is reflected in the project’s name (SOUL-ar). To stay true to this commitment, Serenity Soular will be supporting two neighborhood residents with stipends to shadow the installation, an experience that could launch them into careers in the green economy!
Serenity Soular is bringing a diverse group of people and institutions together around the common goal of supporting a thriving and sustainable community in North Philadelphia. Since its inception, the project has been fueled by crossing borders between communities, and that continues to be the case: Serenity Soular includes students and faculty from Swarthmore College alongside North Philadelphia residents. This installation has involves new partners, including Solar States, a local solar installation company, and RE-volv.
Serenity Soular was born from the installation of a single solar panel on top of a garage in North Philadelphia in the fall of 2014. This event sparked a continuing conversation about the potential role that solar can play in the revitalization of North Philadelphia. The Serenity Soular team has a long-term goal of launching a worker-owned solar installation cooperative, which would employ North Philadelphians to create a sustainable future.
RE-volv’s mission is to empower people and communities to invest collectively in renewable energy. To finance its solar projects, RE-volv crowdfunds donations from people around the country and around the world to cover the upfront costs of a solar installation for a community-serving nonprofit or co-op. Once the solar energy system is up and running and powering the nonprofit or co-op with clean energy, the nonprofit or co-op op pays 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.