Free Solar Energy System Will Help Advance Mission of Valley Nonprofit Serving Foster Children and Families
SRP Solar for Nonprofits Program is Helping Lower Energy Costs for AASK in Chandler
Aid to Adoption of Special Kids (AASK) recently received a new solar system from SRP Solar for Nonprofits for their office based in Chandler. Today, the money AASK has begun saving due to the donated solar energy panels will help advance the agency’s mission to provide more resources to families who are building relationships with children through foster care.
The solar energy system went online in late 2022, and AASK was selected from the previous application period for SRP’s Solar for Nonprofits program. The solar panels were built on top of a covered parking structure, or “solar canopy” also donated by the SRP program. The system not only provides shade for cars parked at the facility, but also produces about 20 kilowatts of solar energy which helps the agency save money on its monthly electricity bill.
According to SRP, the donated solar panels will offset AASK’s energy usage by as much as 35 percent per month, which will equate to increased support for existing families and help keep up with staffing needs.
“With SRP's help in reducing our expenses, AASK is able to help more children in Arizona's foster care system build healthy relationships with adults who truly care,” said Josie Gaieck, AASK Community Engagement Specialist. “With these new savings, AASK can recruit new foster and adoptive parents as well as new mentors. In addition, funding helps families and children who currently use AASK programs providing them with one-on-one support and resources.”
“SRP Solar for Nonprofits is proud to help deserving organizations like AASK incorporate renewable energy resources and save on their energy bills,” said Darrell Bearden, Manager of Distributed Energy Programs at SRP. “By donating solar energy systems, we not only aid the non-profit community in serving the Valley, we also help reduce carbon emissions with renewable energy.”
AASK was the first licensing agency in Arizona to establish a unit of family specialists dedicated solely to the unique needs of relative caregivers, and AASK makes it a key part of its mission to maintain a low ration of families assigned to each AASK family specialist. These specialists can then give individualized attention to each family’s needs.
That is especially important to couples like Christin and Jared Pike, who are not only foster parents but are adoptive parents as well. The San Tan Valley couple have benefited from support from AASK for 7 years and credit the agency for providing them with initial foster family training in learning how to approach foster care the right way.
“AASK always have the best family specialists,” said Christin. “Every call, email or visit ends with, ‘what else can I do for you’ and their staff really understands the challenges foster families face as the boots-on-the-ground member of the child’s overall support team.
“We aren’t doing it (foster care) for us,” added Christin. “We’re doing it for the kids to help them get back to where they’re supposed to be – whether it’s their biological families or grandparents, aunts or uncles. AASK is a critical part of this process.”
Solar for Nonprofits is funded by SRP customers who contribute as little as $3 a month to the SRP Solar for Nonprofits program. Since 2007, the program has awarded 51 solar systems to deserving Valley-based nonprofit organizations which SRP works to install. Collectively, the program has helped nonprofits save more than $1 million while providing renewable, emission-free energy for their facilities.
Adding more renewable resources to the community and the state of Arizona is a major objective for SRP, having announced it will expand utility-scale solar resources to 2,025 megawatts (MW) by the year 2025, more than double SRP’s original solar commitment made at the end of 2018.
Customers who are interested in donating to the program to help additional nonprofits receive solar installation can learn more on the SRP website at srpnet.com/solar-for-nonprofits. The SRP Solar for Nonprofits application period is scheduled to open again early this summer. To qualify, nonprofit applicants must be designated 501(c)(3) organizations, have their headquarters based within SRP’s electric service territory and have a parking structure or a parking lot to which SRP can add a donated structure.