About Unity Gardens
UPDATE: WE DID IT! WE HIT OUR GOAL!
Thanks to all of you who supported this campaign, the solar array for Unity Gardens will be installed in the coming days! Stay tuned for the Ribbon Cutting celebration soon.
Tremendous thanks to our partners: GRID Alternatives, Northern California Land Trust, Patagonia, and all who donated and made this dream a reality!
A team of RE-volv Solar Champions based in the Bay Area are now working to bring solar power to Unity Gardens- a multifamily affordable housing unit part of the Northern California Land Trust in Berkeley, California. With the help of your donations, GRID Alternatives will install 10.7 kilowatts of photovoltaic panels, covering 88% of the building’s electricity load and saving the organization and the families that live there thousands of dollars for years to come.
Why is affordable housing in the Bay Area important?
The San Francisco Bay Area is a beautiful and prosperous place, and in many ways a world leader technologically and culturally. However, the recent economic surge in the area comes with growing pains. Rising housing prices has become a major issue for many long-term Bay Area residents. As the housing market continues to inflate low-income residents are pushed out of their communities by new arrivals able to pay higher rental rates. In a place with such wealth, there are tremendous levels of inequality, which has in turn caused an epidemic of displacement and homelessness.
What are Land Trusts?
A community land trust is a nonprofit organization that stewards property for the benefit of the community. Its mission is to serve the needs of its tenants, and its neighborhood by cultivating shared responsibility and perpetual affordability. There are different types of land trusts, which can include affordable housing, community gardens, commercial spaces, and other community assets.
What is the Northern California Land Trust?
The Northern California Land Trust (NCLT) is a nonprofit holding dozens of properties in the Bay Area in the interest of the community. Most of these properties are housing units, structured to serve low-income residents. This crowdfunding campaign is for Unity Gardens, an apartment complex in Berkeley, CA, about a mile from downtown in a peaceful and beautiful neighborhood. It has 6 family units, creating communal space and providing affordable housing to people who need it.
Why Does NCLT Want to Go Solar?
NCLT values sustainability as part of its mission. Just as community land trusts are set up to provide a sustainable housing solution, solar power is a sustainable energy solution. Solar adds value to the property and puts more resources back into the hands of the community. In this project, part of the energy savings will go directly to the tenants, and part of it will go to NCLT, which will help them create more affordable housing.
Who are the Solar Champions? How do we fit in?
We are volunteering as Solar Champions for RE-volv in partnership with NCLT on this project. We are solar enthusiasts with varying levels of industry experience that wanted to get involved to better our local community. We came across this project and were excited about the good work NCLT is doing, and the opportunity to help them harness the power of the sun.
What are the details of this crowdfunding campaign?
Our crowdfunding campaign will raise the necessary funds to install a 10.7 kW solar PV system at a residence owned by the Northern California Land Trust in Berkeley, which in turn will save money for both the tenants and the organization. As a donor to our campaign you will be investing in RE-volv’s Solar Seed Fund, where every dollar circulates back to fund other solar projects. The Solar Champions, in collaboration with NCLT, will be hosting a variety of public events in the East Bay community to spread awareness about our cause, and fundraise our project.
How does RE-volv's Solar Seed Fund work?
When you donate to this campaign, 100% of your donation will be used to help Unity Gardens go solar which will save them 35% on their energy bills. As Unity Gardens makes lease payments to RE-volv every month, you'll get repaid what you put into the project. Through your RE-volv portfolio, you'll be able to choose which nonprofits to help go solar next.
RE-volv is proud to be partnering with GRID Alternatives, who will install the solar energy system, making it our first joint project. GRID Alternatives is the nation's largest nonprofit solar installer and has a mission of making renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities.
This project is made possible by contributions from generous organizations and donors like you! We'd like to thank our amazing partners at Jinko Solar for donating the solar panels for this installation.