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Black Rock Solar, Groupon launch ‘Solarize the Shade Tree’
by Tribune Staff
Apr 17, 2012 | 773 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print

LAS VEGAS — Black Rock Solar and Groupon Grassroots, the philanthropic arm of Groupon, announced Monday the launch of a campaign to allow Nevadans to help purchase solar panels for The Shade Tree, a local shelter for at-risk women and children.

The Solarize the Shade Tree campaign will be featured on the Nevada Groupon Grassroots page this week through Earth Day on Sunday. Utilizing Groupon Grassroots’ collective action model, Groupon subscribers can pledge support for the Solarize The Shade Tree initiative in increments of $10. For every $500 donated, Shade Tree receives one 225-watt solar panel.

Black Rock Solar, a Nevada based non-profit specializing in renewable energy, has designed a unique 33-kilowatt photovoltaic array for The Shade Tree. The array will help the organization save an estimated $7,000 per year on its electricity bill — savings that can be used to provide shelter for women and children escaping abusive situations. In a single year, money savings from the solar array can provide 200 additional days of shelter for a woman or child.

“This cutting-edge idea creates the opportunity for us to put every donor dollar to work three times over — not only to help the women, but to help the pets and to help the environment in the future,” said Marlene Richter, executive director of The Shade Tree. “In these hard economic times, many of our grants have been cut. (This initiative) will help us meet the bottom line, so the 3,500 to 4,000 newcomers who walk in our door can get the services they need to get back on their feet.”

One hundred percent of donations from the Groupon Grassroots campaign will be used to install a photovoltaic array for The Shade Tree’s pet sanctuary. Families are less traumatized when they can keep their dogs and cats with them, and the Shade Tree enables them to do that.

“We’re especially honored to partner with Groupon Grassroots on this campaign,” said Black Rock Solar Deputy Director Marnee Benson. “Every dollar of the first $20,000 donated will go directly toward helping the Shade Tree get clean energy installed at the shelter.”

If more than $20,000 is received, the money will be used by Black Rock Solar to provide free or low-cost renewable energy to schools, medical facilities, Native American tribes and non-profits such as The Shade Tree.

The campaign’s official page is located at

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