With the help of a $200,000 grant, Plano-based nonprofit My Possibilities has joined a growing number of businesses and organizations in North Texas that are using solar energy to power their facilities, ultimately lowering their costs and helping the environment.
The announcement of the solar system has great timing as EarthX’s annual Expo is this weekend in Dallas.
Since opening in 2008, My Possibilities has pioneered continuing education for adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in North Texas. The nonprofit serves more than 400 adults with disabilities onsite, weekly.
The grant comes from SUN CLUB, an initiative of Green Mountain Energy that invests in nonprofits to advance sustainability. It’s is going to be used to fund hydroponic sheds for My Possibilities that provide a low-energy, low-water environment in which it can grow fresh produce year-round.
“Solar is an investment that will pay us back for decades to come—not to mention making our environment cleaner, safer and providing a learning tool for our HIPsters.”
My Possibilities chose Dallas-based Sunfinity Renewable Energy to design and install the 471-panel, 160 kW solar system on the Fischer Family School of Life Skills at the Campus for Higher Learning in Plano.
“My Possibilities is dedicated to providing exceptional educational and vocational opportunities for adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. With many plans for the future, we will continue to meet the ambitious needs of our HIPsters and expand the opportunities we provide,” Executive Director Michael Thomas said in a statement. “Solar is an investment that will pay us back for decades to come—not to mention making our environment cleaner, safer and providing a learning tool for our HIPsters.”
The nonprofit’s students are called HIPsters: Hugely Important People. Recently, Thomas presented on behalf of My Possibilities at United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ annual pitch competition. There, he shared his plans for a new for-profit, on-site retail training center that would hire HIPsters, and walked away with Second Runner-Up.
My Possibilities is on the ‘cutting edge’ by using solar power
According to a release, the system should offset 45 percent of My Possibility’s electricity needs and save more than $540,000 over its lifespan. The system also will offset carbon dioxide emissions produced by 6.3 million gallons/pounds of gas, diesel, and coal burned or the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 11.8 million miles driven by passenger automobiles.
More solar panels can be installed in the future to further offset My Possibilities’ power needs as new buildings are constructed.
“Schools are often ideally suited for solar,” John B. Billingsley, chairman and CEO of Sunfinity Renewable Energy, said in a statement. “Their power needs match well with the sun’s peak hours, and of course, the savings can be redirected to expenses that benefit the children and the school community vs. utility bills.”
Billingsley said that Texas schools increasingly are becoming interested in solar energy, but that only a few schools in North Texas have implemented solar or renewable energy, saying it’s likely fewer than five schools.
“My Possibilities is on the cutting edge,” Billingsley said.
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