The Arizona Humane Society (AHS) Nina Mason Pulliam South Mountain Campus in Phoenix recently received a free solar energy system from the SRP Solar for Nonprofits program. AHS is one of three nonprofits awarded systems by SRP, a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.
“It’s truly a lifesaving gift,” said Bretta Nelson, AHS Public Relations Manager. “With the money we save on electric bills we should be able to care for more than 200 additional pets in our Parvo Puppy ICU or 500 additional kittens in our Bottle Baby Kitten ICU each year.”
The newly installed solar energy system and associated supporting structure, which doubles as covered parking for the staff and visitors, provides 100 kilowatts (kW) of solar power to the facility, producing approximately 150,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually. This helps offset AHS’ energy costs and cut down the organization’s carbon emissions.
“We cared for nearly 30,000 homeless pets the last two years,” said Nelson. “It is important to us that in doing so we are not only giving them the best and most comfortable experience possible, but that we are doing it in a sustainable way that improves our environmental impact. Not to mention, the welcomed shade the structure will now provide to guests who visit our South Mountain campus!”
As of 2021, the average cost of care for each animal who enters AHS’ doors is more than $1,300, with the vast majority of pets receiving specialized medical or behavioral rehabilitation. AHS allocates anywhere from $115,000 to $128,000 towards electricity bills, primarily due to the cost of maintaining safe temperatures for shelter animals to live in.
“By receiving a portion of the facility’s electricity through renewable, solar energy, not only do they reduce carbon emissions, but they also reduce their operating costs,” said Darrell Bearden, Manager of Distributed Energy Programs at SRP. “We’re happy to see this system go to such a deserving organization.”
The Solar for Nonprofits program is funded by SRP and customers who contribute as little as $3 a month. Since 2007, the program has awarded 53 solar energy systems to Valley-based nonprofit organizations which SRP works to install. Collectively, the program has helped nonprofits save nearly $1 million while providing renewable, emission-free energy for their buildings.