Solar Energy at the Finca: My Dream

Hello, dear friends! It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here. All is well. Our family has slowly but surely been adjusting to life back in the United States, and we are coming to terms with the fact that our (physical) mission in Honduras is over. Eric has initiated the ELCA Call Process to find an open church that feels right for us, and we are enjoying quality time with family in the meantime.

Still, I remain deeply committed to the mission of the Farm of the Child. Since returning to the States, I have continued to work on the Finca project that became my “baby” in Honduras, and now I am thrilled to invite you all to share in it: We are trying to install Solar Energy at the Finca!

Within weeks of our arrival, Eric and I recognized both a need and an opportunity for alternative energy at the Finca. I devoted a great deal of my time in Honduras to trying to make this dream a reality, and it finally feels like it is within reach. After months of research, grant-writing, and conversations among Honduran and U.S.-based stakeholders, we are ready to begin fundraising for this project!

Solar Panels on Roof

Rooftop solar panels, similar to those we hope to install

The Need

As an institution, the Finca’s largest single line-item monthly expense is the power bill. All facets of the mission require electricity: indoor and outdoor lights for safety around the residential homes, overhead lights and computers at school, medical equipment and fans in the health clinic, etc. Due to soaring energy prices, the cost of electricity has become unsustainably-burdensome to the Finca, and – in a country rife with corruption – the Honduran government is failing to protect its citizens from excessive costs.

Additionally, despite the high cost of power in Honduras, it is extremely unreliable. Several times a week, the power grid supplying the Finca with energy shuts down. These scheduled and unscheduled outages last anywhere from minutes to entire days. Unsurprisingly, losing power on such a regular basis creates frustration, inefficiencies, and physical risks for those living at the Finca.

Having access to consistent, inexpensive, clean energy would truly be a game-changer. With the money saved on electricity, the Finca could better support current programs and expand its services to meet new needs.

The Project

We plan to install an 11 kilowatt Hybrid (Grid-Tie and Battery) Solar Energy package at the Finca del Niño. According to an energy-consumption audit, this solar energy system will be sufficient to cover slightly more than 100% of the Finca’s current consumption.

Why this system?

Currently, the Honduran government pays for energy, so tying our system to the grid will reduce our energy bill to zero. However, we recognize that the government’s willingness to pay for the energy our system produces could change in the future; additionally, an exclusively grid-tie system would not provide power during frequent nighttime outages. Thus, the hybrid system! This system will utilize grid power when it is available (without incurring costs), while the battery reserve allows the Finca to operate entirely off the grid whenever needed.

If our energy needs increase in the future, this hybrid system can be supplemented by additional solar panels without having to replace any existing components. Our hope and expectation is that this hybrid system will supply the Finca with reliable energy for decades to come.

Cost

The total projected cost of this project is $41,581. This cost includes all system parts (manufactured in Europe and the U.S.), installation labor, shipping to Trujillo, and renovation of two building roofs (upon which the solar panels will be installed).

We were thrilled to learn last month that the Finca has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters for this project. Additionally, we have received pledges totaling $8,500 from private donors. This leaves us with about $18,000 to fundraise for the project.

The Ask

Our goal is to raise the full cost of the solar energy system by mid-October and to have it up and running by next summer. Once it is functional, this system will save the Finca more than $10,000 per year on energy costs, paying for itself in four years. Needless to say, we are eager to get started!

Farm of the Child is a registered 501(c)3, so donations are 100% tax-deductible. Additionally, if you work for a company with a Corporate Matching Gift Program, you can double your donation for free. Another option is to donate from your IRA’s Required Minimum Distributions. I’m happy to help anyone through the process of donating, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Honduras has been in the news a lot lately. If you’ve been looking for a way to make life more live-able for Central Americans, then please consider donating to this project… you will be supporting vulnerable children, clean energy, and new mission opportunities!

Thank you for your generosity, and God bless!

Click here to donate to the Finca Solar Energy Project

8 thoughts on “Solar Energy at the Finca: My Dream

  1. Nicole,

    I would like to donate from RMD funds, so the direct link doesn’t work for me. Please contact me so we can work out the details.

    Betty McNeely

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

    • Hi Sheila! Thank you so much for your generosity! Checks can be mailed to:

      Farm of the Child
      100 S. Ashley Drive
      Suite 600
      Tampa, FL 33602

      God bless you! 🙂

      Like

  2. Dear Nicole and Eric Hope you and the girls are well and thriving. I am eager to donate $1500 to the solar project directly from my IRA. Should I send it to the same address in Florida with a memo of Wooldridge Family? We greatly admire your courage. bill and Sheila Bosron

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

  3. How generous — thank you! Yes, you can send checks to the FL address (100 S Ashley Dr, Suite 600, Tampa, FL 33602). Please put “Solar Project” in the memo. Your donation will really help us to meet our goal. God bless you!

    Like

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