Casa Milagro, a homeless facility for people with mental illnesses in Santa Fe, wants to brighten their atmosphere with solar energy.
Desirée Bernard, executive director of Casa Milagro, said the stars (including the sun) are aligned to give great advantages to their place on the Camino Bajo south of Santa Fe. First, Casa Milagro’s energy efficiency was significantly improved last year by an organization in Colorado doing such work for affordable housing programs.
Second, it expects to receive solar panels this week to generate cheap electricity and save thousands of dollars for the homeless home for years to come.
“It was definitely a synergy,” said Bernard on Monday about the switch to energy-related savings. “It was really a stroke of luck that that happened.”
Santa Fe-based Positive Energy Solar is expected to install solar panels at Casa Milagro this week as part of a program coordinated by New Energy Economy.
New Energy Economy, a renewable energy advocacy group in Santa Fe, raised approximately two-thirds of the $ 54,000 for the solar panel project.
The organization has raised funds for about a dozen other rural solar panels, various city and county fire stations, community and cultural centers in northern New Mexico, and other locations. New Energy Economy leader Mariel Nanasi said she did not expect any difficulty in raising the remaining $ 18,000 for the Casa Milagro solar facility.
Bernard said that last year Casa Milagro also benefited from the work of a Colorado-based non-profit making affordable housing projects more energy efficient. The International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology improved insulation and sewerage in the house and weaned most of the house from expensive propane gas.
Bernard estimated that their organization’s solar panels and energy efficiency work will save about $ 12,000 a year.
Casa Milagro has been around for more than 20 years and at the same time offers temporary and permanent accommodation for around 12 people.
“Oh, I’m excited about the project,” said Jennifer S. Elliott, 42, who has lived at Casa Milagro for more than three years. “To keep this planet clean … yes, it’s a great way to move forward.”
Nanasi said Positive Energy Solar gave her almost a 20 percent discount on the solar installation project. The California-based Good Day Fund donated $ 20,000 to install solar panels. Remy made his contribution through the solar initiative of the Cornerstones Community Partnership, based in Santa Fe.
Nanasi and New Energy Economy are best known for criticizing the Public Service Company of New Mexico. Nanasi said Monday that her group’s principles include tackling climate change and moving away from energy dependence on coal, oil and gas.
By using solar energy, says Nanasi, Casa Milagro can use the savings achieved for programs and increased self-sufficiency.