Jeff Masters Weather Blog

His roof wasn’t suitable for solar panels. Here’s what he did instead. » Yale Climate Connections


A few years ago, Indiana resident John Smillie wanted to put solar panels on his roof. There was just one problem:

Smillie: “It’s not really a good roof for solar.”

But Smillie was not to be deterred. He realized that solar panels might not work for his house, but they might work for a nearby youth-focused nonprofit with a flat, sunny roof.

So he donated the funds and helped find a vendor to install solar panels — which now help the nonprofit save money on their energy bills.

Smillie: “Where that goes is right back into their mission. You know, I got to invest in not only clean power but also in the Youth Service Bureau’s mission, which is serving the youth of the county.”

Smillie has since helped another nonprofit go solar, and he’s working with a third. He’s helping cover the upfront costs and advising them on how to take advantage of clean energy tax credits from the federal Inflation Reduction Act.

He says this approach has helped him feel that he’s making a difference on climate change.

Smillie: “It just feels good to be useful and to do something about it, and to also just invest in my community at the same time.”

And Smillie welcomes the many people across the country who have contacted him for advice on how they can bring solar power to nonprofits in their own communities.

Reporting credit: Ethan Freedman / ChavoBart Digital Media





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