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Concerned Citizens raising funds for rooftop solar panels at YES Club

Concerned Citizens raising funds for rooftop solar panels at YES Club

NEWARK Kasyn Verasso loves participating in the programs at YES Club. So when he heard the organization was hoping to raise money to install solar panels on its clubhouse roof, he thought it was a great way to reduce their utility costs.

“Solar energy saves a lot of money,” the Heritage Middle School student said. “When our electric bill goes down, that means there is more money for us.

The other students and staff at YES Club agree with him. They aren’t the only ones.

A group of community leaders and agencies gathered at the clubhouse Friday to kick off YES for Solar, a fundraising campaign dedicated to installing a solar array on YES’ roof at 100 E. Church St.

“This is a grassroots type of project,” said Richard Downs, a members of the Licking County Solar Cooperative. “We are really looking to the people of Licking County to support this project.”

A program of Mental Health America, YES Club is an after school program for students ages 11 to 18. Staff members prioritize education, community services and a family atmosphere.

Downs, a longtime supporter of the program, proposed the idea funding a solar panel project. The students immediately thought it was a great way to improve their home away from home, said Amanda Vozzella, programming director.

“From what we’ve been told, this will be a first in Newark,” she said. “It’s a way for them to feel proud.”

YES uses enough electricity to power five average homes and their annual electrical costs are about $9,000 a year, Downs said. A solar array would likely cut their energy costs by 25 percent, saving them more than $2,000 that could be put toward programming.

Downs worked with Jeremy King, a fellow member of the Licking County Solar Cooperative, to come up with a plan. They researched and selected a solar array and materials that were made in the United States and were very safe.

“This technology has come a long way,” Downs said. “It will be safe, durable and will operate without an issue.”

The panels will also provide a huge educational component for the students. They will be able to use a computer program to track their usage. Science classes could also access the data and could visit the clubhouse to learn more about the array, Downs said.

“This have everything to do with science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” he said, “These are skills that these students need to be able to use.”

Some students might be motivated to start a career in solar energy, he said.

Working with the Licking County Foundation, members of Licking County Concerned Citizens for Public Health and Environment offered to run the fundraising campaign.

They plan to collect donations through the summer with hopes that the panels can be installed in the fall, said coordinator Carol Apacki.

Their goal is to raise $30,000 to install at least 36 panels and every donation helps, Downs said. The panels will likely bring positive attention to downtown Newark as well as the clubhouse, Vozzella said.

“It will bring a lot of attention to YES Club,” she said. “More people will be interested in what we do.”

Eighth grader Taylor Black said she’s excited for YES Club to save money, while helping the planet.

“We all want the earth to be a better place for us,” she said. 740-328-8544 Twitter: @amsjeffries

Source: Newark Advocate




To donate to the project, go to

or mail checks
payable to the Licking County Foundation with “Yes for Solar” on the memo line
to Licking County Foundation,
P.O. Box 4212, Newark, OH 43058-4212.

Small or large, your gift matters!

Select one or more itmes from these gift categories:

  • Nuts and bolts (any $ amount)
  • Direct Current optimizers …$60
  • Structural supports & infrastructure…$100
  • Solar panel …$250
  • Complete solar panel package…$400
  • DC/AC inverter…$1,000


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