HATFIELD — Northeast Solar announced that the new farm stand for Springfield-based nonprofit Gardening the Community, at 200 Walnut St. in Mason Square, is now being powered by a free solar-power array made possible in part by a collaboration with two area donors.
The farm stand is the 11th free solar installation completed by Northeast Solar, and the list continues to grow as the company identifies more nonprofit organizations operating in the Pioneer Valley to work with. The nonprofit solar installations are part of the company’s larger mission under its commitment to the community program.
Greg Garrison, president of Northeast Solar and a graduate of the Greenfield Community College (GCC) Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency program, started the company in 2010 after serving as a business consultant for the previous owner in 2009. From the outset, Northeast Solar made it its mission to bring a variety of benefits to the community.
“My time at GCC motivated me to start a company that would give me the chance to improve the community,” Garrison said. “I saw that chance with solar.”
Over the past year, Northeast Solar has been working with Garrison’s former GCC professor, Brian Adams, and Morey Phippen, a long-time social-service worker in Northampton, to bring free solar power to local community organizations.
To date, Northeast Solar has installed free solar for DIAL/Self, ServiceNet, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, the Peace Development Fund, Dakin Animal Shelter, Nasami Farm, the Amherst Survival Center, Historic Northampton, and now Gardening the Community.
“Free solar for nonprofits is central to our mission as a company — to give more than we take and to benefit the community,” Garrison said.
The donated solar installations are intended to reduce the amount of money organizations have to spend on electricity every year in the hope that those funds can be redirected into better programs that serve the community.