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When Goodwill began looking into energy efficiencies, such as LED lighting and solar panels, the reason was two-fold: to be environmentally conscious and to reduce long term costs for the organization. What it didn’t expect was a partnership that would provide HOPE during the COVID-19 crisis.

In November 2018 Goodwill began transitioning offices and store locations to LED lighting. Working with Maryland based Energy Efficient Technologies, to date the Melrose Jobs Campus in Roanoke, the facility and store near Lakeside in Salem, and stores in Martinsville, Rocky Mount, South Boston, and the Westover store in Danville have all transitioned. The result has been a savings of approximately $14,000 per month for Goodwill.

“We are currently saving over 150,000 Kilowatt hours of electricity per month,” states Steve Kelley, Chief Financial Officer for Goodwill. “Additionally, all of the new bulbs and ballasts are guaranteed for seven years, which should save us at least another $15,000 – $25,000 per year in reduced maintenance costs throughout all these locations, as we will no longer have to change all those burned-out bulbs and ballasts. We will be looking at converting more locations in the future.”

Solar Panels

In addition to the LED lighting project, Goodwill was working with RER Energy Group, headquartered in Reading, Pennsylvania, on a renewable energy project. In October 2019, the 700 panel, 236-Kilowatt solar array began powering the 44,000 square foot Goodwill store, outlet, and offices in Salem near Lakeside.

“The solar array has been, and we expect it will continue, producing enough electricity to power the entire facility, which means Goodwill no longer has monthly electric bills at this location,” states Kelley. “Over the next 25 years the solar array will save Goodwill more than $200,000. We are discussing other solar energy options that would provide long-term benefits to our organization.”

Partnerships that began with a focus on environmental stewardship and greater sustainability, are now providing hope for thousands of people who need the help of Goodwill during these trying times. With Goodwill stores closing during the COVID-19 crisis, 70% of Goodwill’s revenues all but disappeared. The energy savings from these two projects have been a welcome relief, and so has support from both Energy Efficient Technologies and RER Energy Group.

“As Goodwill looked to establish the HOPE FUND, to support Virtual Services and the cost of keeping employees who had to be temporarily laid-off on health insurance, both Energy Efficient Technologies and RER Energy Group stepped up with their pledge of support,” states Kelly Sandridge, Vice President Brand Strategy & External Affairs. “Together, RER Energy Group and Energy Efficient Technologies pledged to match contributions made to the HOPE FUND up to $5,000. They inspired our donors by matching gifts and in just a week we were able to raise more than $10,000. We are very grateful for their support.”

For more information on the HOPE FUND, click here.

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About RER Energy Group
RER Energy Group is an industry leader in providing cost-effective, high-quality solar systems throughout the United States and Latin America. The company has developed more than 55 megawatts of solar energy, obtaining over $30 million in grant proceeds for commercial, industrial, agricultural, municipal, and non-profit customers. For more information, visit

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