BeLoved Asheville Selected as Nonprofit Recipient of Solarize Install
By Summer Winkler and Jamie Wine
Solarize Asheville-Buncombe County launched in 2021 between community members and mission-aligned organizations in order to provide affordable solar installations within the community. The campaign goals were 500 sign-ups and 100 contracts for solar energy systems, and we exceeded these numbers. Of 21 participating local governments, across the United States, Solarize Asheville-Buncombe had the most solar installations out of all campaigns with 182 contracts signed!
Part of a Solarize campaign is donating a solar energy installation to a local nonprofit. After a committee-based selection process, involving members of the community and the Solarize project team, we are pleased to announce the selection of BeLoved Asheville.
BeLoved Asheville’s commitment to meeting community needs and environmental and financial sustainability makes them a perfect fit for this program. The two organizations’ work might seem different on the surface. Blue Horizons Project is about making a clean energy future a reality in Buncombe County and preserving our skies and waters for generations to come. BeLoved Asheville is about building a community focused on equity where impacted people can resource one another and create solutions together. However, it couldn’t be a better match.
The climate crisis is the biggest humanitarian issue of our time and affects BIPOC and low-income people the most. Applying a climate solution to BeLoved’s operations helps amplify both organizations’ work resolving the climate crisis and creating racial and economic equity, improving the lives of people that need it most. It’s all about bringing people together and lifting each other up.
BeLoved’s vision for their space is inspiring. What is now an empty warehouse of an old transmission shop will soon become a community hub – powered by solar. There will be gardens, educational and community space, a thrift store, space to recycle building materials to keep them out of the waste stream, space for coordinated action for equity, office space, and resources for their street medics, food access projects, community leadership network, and more.
BeLoved Asheville Co-Director Amy Cantrell is so excited about both the opportunity and the message that receiving this installation will send to the community. BeLoved lives in the “eye of the storm” providing for those in need and helping us to remember the humanity in all.
“We are bringing human energy and we’re bringing solar energy, and we’re bringing plant energy into this hub. It will be a place where we can turn this energy into innovative solutions to tackle all the challenges that we face. A place where we can inspire one another to act in concert and in community, to really change things for the better.”
From a practical standpoint, this community-funded solar installation will allow BeLoved to put resources saved on their energy bills directly into their critical work in the community. The match creates a long-term, positive ripple effect for years to come in a classic full circle moment.
“I think a lot about being autonomous in this place created for recycling and resourcing- because if we can pay less for electricity, we will have more funds to continue the projects we are working on and care for the planet at the same time.” Ponkho Bermejo, BeLoved Asheville Co-Director.
Partnering with BeLoved truly matches the mission of Solarize, Blue Horizons Project, and Green Built Alliance. We are excited to see what comes next for this homegrown, highly-effective organization that improves people’s lives and leads the way for a more vibrant, just and sustainable future for the people of Buncombe County and Asheville.
To donate to our Neighbor to Neighbor Solar Campaign, providing solar to income-qualified folks in our community, click here and select the Neighbor to Neighbor Solar checkbox.
To learn more about BeLoved Asheville and support their work, click here.