April 25, 2017: Smith College, a long-time member of Co-op Power, is partnering with the Co-op Power's Community Solar team to develop a local solar financing model for local nonprofits. Under this structure, local investors with real estate interests invest in local nonprofit solar projects, helping to use the solar tax incentives and bring down the overall costs for nonprofits. Nonprofits don't qualify for those tax incentives on their own. This innovative model brings the cost savings of solar to the nonprofit community. Smith College was the first nonprofit to sign on through the pilot phase of this program. Co-op Power has partnered with Resonant Energy, PV Squared, All Energy Solar, Solar One, and Grid Alternatives to finance, design, permit and install these systems. The nonprofits locked in an agreement with a starting electricity price at 10% or more below their current electricity rates. As an example, Smith College estimates it will save $28,292 over the next 20 years on its 25 kW pilot and will have the option to purchase the equipment after 10 years. The first group of projects was financed in April of 2017. The second group is expected in the summer of 2017.