Third-party solar power benefits Oklahoma nonprofit and high school



Oklahoma nonprofits and schools are benefiting from solar energy due to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which provides tax incentives for transitioning to renewable energy. The Act encourages third-party solar ownership, offering tax credits to investors and lower energy bills for nonprofits. Brightwell, a company that facilitates partnerships between investors and nonprofits, has helped entities like the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and Norman North High School to install solar panels, resulting in significant energy savings and estimated 30-year savings of $5.7 million and $1 million, respectively.

Oklahoma Nonprofits and Schools Embrace Solar Power with Unique Investment Strategy

Oklahoma-based nonprofits and schools are adopting solar energy following a unique investment approach. The Inflation Reduction Act, signed in 2022, offered around $369 billion in tax incentives to encourage a shift from traditional energy sources to renewables.

This act has stimulated third-party solar ownership, benefiting both investors and nonprofits. These investors, often anonymous, earn tax credits relative to project size, while nonprofits benefit from reduced energy bills.

Brightwell, a company acting as the middleman, establishes partnerships between affluent individuals and corporations with tax liabilities, and nonprofits running on tight budgets. Tony Capucille, CEO of Brightwell, explains that this tax equity investment turns individuals and corporations into impact investors, owing to considerable tax incentives from the federal government for entities embracing solar power.

Capucille further explains that the investors maintain the system once installed. This model, he claims, opens up “unlocking generosity” as it connects local investors with local projects without intermediaries like large investment firms.

An example of this is the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma which had 1,512 solar panels installed by 2023. Cassie Gilman, CDO at the food bank, anticipates a 50% reduction in energy usage and approximately 40% savings on their current bill. These savings could result in more meals for those in need across the 53 counties they operate in, possibly even expanding their network.

The 30-year savings for the nonprofit are projected to be around $5.7 million. Another beneficiary of this initiative will be Norman North High School with the upcoming installation of 488 solar panels. The project is estimated to completely offset energy usage and result in a 30-year saving of $1 million.

Justin Milner, associate superintendent of Norman Public Schools, welcomes the investor component as a win-win situation that allows the school to reap the benefits of solar power and reinvest the energy savings back into the classroom.

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