SHINING BRIGHT: High Country homeless shelter among first in U.S. to install solar power

SHINING BRIGHT: High Country homeless shelter among first in U.S. to install solar power
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By Christina Beals. November 29, 2017. BOONE, NC — A local Boone homeless facility has made national history, while also giving back to the environment.

Tuesday morning, Boone’s Hospitality House officially became one of the first homeless shelters in the United States with solar power.

“We’re here for solar energy… that alone should warm your fingers,” stated David Jackson, President of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce during the Hospitality House’s solar panel ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Jackson was one of the local figures to address Boone citizens that came to the Hospitality House Tuesday morning to witness the unveiling of a new solar panel system.

This is the perfect marriage of the non-profit community, university community and business community.

In the 8am brisk, cold air, the local crowd watched in anticipation as the ribbon was officially cut, while various Boone representatives stood beside it in support.

“This is the perfect marriage of the non-profit community, university community and business community,” said Hospitality House Director of Development Todd Carter in opening the ceremony. “In addition to respect, dignity, compassion and integrity, our core values include the sustainability of life, community and environment, as well as being an innovative leader in our community. We are proud to stand here today, celebrating those values.”

The Phase II ribbon-cutting ceremony was hosted by Appalachian State Chancellor Sheri Everts, Vice Chancellor Hank Foreman, Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz, several Boone Town Council members, and representatives from United Solar Initiative (USI), Blue Ridge Energy, Appalachian State Student Government Association (SGA), and Appalachian State Renewable Energy Initiative (REI).

The 54-photovoltaic solar panel system was given to the community in honor of Giving Tuesday, meant to be a global day of giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

USI had raised $35,000 of the necessary total for the solar system energy contribution, and Appalachian State’s ACT program awarded the Hospitality House a Renewable Energy Grant of over $40,000 to help cover the rest of the cost.

This is the USI’s first domestic project, as most of them have typically taken place in third world villages. Overall, it is their largest project to date.

USI project manager Zack Sprau stated that the solar panel system is capable of creating 13 kilowatts of electricity at one time, which would be enough to power 1,300 ten-watt LED light bulbs.

The overall purpose of solar panel systems is to provide pure energy from the sun. The installation of solar panels can help in combating greenhouse gas emissions, reducing dependency on fossil fuels, and essentially provides the building’s own electricity, thus reducing monthly electric bills.

To learn more about the Boone Hospitality House, such as their community mission or how to offer a helping hand, visit their website at HospHouse.org

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