A local veterans organization will soon save money on its energy bills thanks to a group of Coastal Carolina University students.
The Coastal Solar Ambassadors have been raising money to purchase solar panels for Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 10804 in Little River. The student group has been working on behalf of RE-volv, a nonprofit based in San Francisco that helps fund solar energy projects across the country.
The solar panels will cover a little under 20% of the roof of the VFW’s building on Highway 57. PostT 10804 has occupied the building for almost 20 years. It’s where they hold community events, members serve local veterans, and also where veterans socialize.
“You know how big and blue the front it is. It tells people, you’re welcome here. If you’re a veteran there’s things we can do to help you,” said VFW member Bill La Monte.
He’s worked closely with the Coastal Solar Ambassadors on the project. The student group has been fundraising for almost six weeks and have raised about $51,000. La Monte hopes making the building more energy efficient will allow VFW Post 10804 to help more veterans.
“Our energy bill is going to go down that much. Again, being a volunteer organization, every penny we can save is worthwhile.”
VFW Post leaders said, during the summer months, the bill can get as high as $2,000. According to La Monte, installing the solar panels will reduce the building’s energy bill by about 19%. He said the money they will save can be used otherwise.
“We help veterans. If somebody is in trouble financially and they need help paying bills, if they need food, if they need an electric bill paid for,” said La Monte.
He believes going solar will also ensure the future of Post 10804.
“A VFW post is based on membership, and membership is declining due to the loss of many of the World War 2, Korea, Vietnam veteran folks. So we gotta look at ways we can save money and continue to function properly,” he said.
La Monte is counting down the days till the installation, which is scheduled for the end of June.
“I’m really excited about it because I got involved with this thing back in the very beginning of last year. I’m going to be very excited standing out there on the roof, watching them put these panels down,” he said.
Coastal Solar Ambassador’s fundraising goal is $57,063. The Leonardo Di Caprio Foundation will match all donations. If you would like to support the cause, click here for more information.