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Santa Maria Valley Humane Society is going solar

Turning their parking lot into a way to save money on their electric bill, the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society is now embarking on a solar project they say will save them thousands.

“Currently our annual electrical bill – because we are outside of the area for natural gas, is just under $40,000 a year,” explains Hilda Zacarias, Interim Executive Director of the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society.

That $40,000 is just a small chunk of the $1.2 million it costs to run the facility every year.

“When we think about what it costs just one person to have one animal and then you multiply that by 1,000 – that’s what you have at the Humane Society,” says Zacarias.

In order to save some money they are planning on spending some. The Humane Society plans on building a car port with solar panels on top, along with putting panels on some of the kennels and the roof. The total cost of this project is $200,000.

“We’re creating sustainability for our organization. We couldn’t invest $200,000 in any kind of vehicle and get that kind of return on an ongoing basis and then of course environmentally, it’s really important for us to be good stewards in the way that we’re good stewards with our dogs and cats, we need to be good stewards for our environment,” Zacarias says.

The shelter is hoping to get some donations for this project that they say will make them the first animal shelter on the Central Coast with this technology.

“We’re looking for donors who believe in sustaining both the environment and the organization – we think they’re out there to invest in us,” Zacarias tells us.

If the shelter can raise some extra funds, the solar project is expected to begin in February.

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