In late 2018, we finally realized a long-term goal of adding renewable energy generation to the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks! The HDR Foundation made it possible. But what is the HDR Foundation?
The HDR Foundation is affiliated with HDR Inc., a premier engineering firm with global reach, although the two are legally separate entities. HDR Inc. The one-time gift from HDR will literally be the gift that keeps on giving—every time the sun shines on the solar array. The solar array will reduce operating costs, essentially allowing us to spend less money on energy and therefore allow us to apply more resources to our mission. In very real terms, the cost-savings will allow us to hire an additional part-time educator for the busy spring and fall field trip seasons.
The solar array also provides another educational opportunity for the Watershed Center. The solar array comes with monitoring equipment that populates a real-time dashboard which can be accessed online through a computer or mobile device. The dashboard elegantly shows current energy output, kilowatt hours per day, and keeps a running tally of carbon offset and cost savings. We plan to continue developing the educational component with our partners at City Utilities and Sunbelt Solar encourages employees to be engaged in their local communities and leave their mark on the future through partnerships aligned with HDR’s values and areas of expertise. The HDR foundation was founded on July 12, 2012 to extend that corporate ethic, and the Foundation is fueled/funded primarily by donations from employees of HDR Inc. Watershed Committee of the Ozarks board member and former board chairman Eric Dove works for HDR Inc. which provided access for WCO to apply to the HDR foundation for grant funding. The HDR Foundation has provided more than $1 million in grant funding to deserving nonprofit organizations from all across the United States, and WCO was the beneficiary of a major grant of $80,000, which was the largest single disbursement the HDR Foundation had awarded to date!
Solar was an instrumental partner in the project. From the onset, Sunbelt stepped up in a big way by agreeing to provide $10,000 in in-kind services for the installation of the project which helped both in the grant application process and with the success of the project over all. The project had many, many twists and turns, including new steel and solar tariffs which affected prices and design possibilities, buried lines, City codes, and aesthetic considerations. The Sunbelt team was with us from start to finish and adapted to all the challenges that we encountered. Upon the writing of this, our solar array seems to be performing like a “hot rod” in comparison to other local systems.
HDR, Sunbelt Solar