Power Company Helps Derby Nonprofit Go Solar

TEAM Inc. is used to helping others with basic needs.

On Tuesday the Derby-based nonprofit celebrated getting some help with one if its own, via a donation from United Illuminating.

The power company has installed 18 solar panels on TEAM Inc.‘s roof at 30 Elizabeth St., which officials expect to cut the group’s electric bill $50 to $100 per month.

UI and TEAM announced the collaboration at a press conference at TEAM’s headquarters Tuesday.

Anthony Marone, UI’s vice president for customer and business services, said TEAM was selected to donate solar panels to that had originally been a part of a UI pilot program and taken from another building.

“There was absolutely nothing wrong with them,” Marone said. “We said, what would be a good use for these things, rather than to scrap them?”

TEAM was a logical choice for us because it’s an organization that just does fantastic work in the community in so many ways,” Marone said.

TEAM offers an array of services — programs for helping the elderly, energy and heating assistance, housing assistance, and job help, to name a few.

TEAM CEO David Morgan said that made the solar panel opportunity “a perfect marriage, almost.”

“Because when you think about how we have over 4,000 households come in our door for energy assistance to seek support and some help with their home heating,” Morgan said. “When you think about who we’re working with here at TEAM and you see what UIL brings to us, it was just a perfect partnership.”

The solar panels were installed in December on the roof of TEAM’s building at no cost to TEAM.

They were turned on about a month ago, according to Marone, who said the spring will bring more savings.

“We’ll start seeing some of the benefits of the panels over the coming months,” Marone said. “Especially with this winter, there was not a lot of bright sunlight. So there probably has been some output from the panels but we’re really going to be getting into the time where the panels will actually make a difference.”

TEAM will receive credit for the renewable energy produced by the solar panels that will be credited against their electricity bill.

According to Marone, there won’t be much maintenance needed for the solar panels.

“They’re mounted up on the roof. They’re probably up maybe about a couple feet off the ground,” Marone said. “It’s a hard surface. What will happen is when it snows in the winter, the snow will be on them but with the sun shining, the snow will melt quicker off the panels since they are on an angle.”

Officials expect the panels to produce electricity for 20 years.

TEAM Board of Directors Chair Stephane Skibo said she was very grateful for UI’s donation.

“Believe me, we are really stingy. I mean, this is one group I can say who pinches pennies extremely well,” Skibo said. “They can stretch a dollar and make sure it is used by everyone to its fullest and we take advantage of it. This is just one of the wonderful examples of when the community recognizes that the people here and the volunteers with the people here make such a big difference.”


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