Solar Fundraiser

The co-op’s mission of keeping local and healthy food available to our community is an energy-intensive proposition that requires many coolers and freezers. Despite efforts to successfully maximize efficiency and conserve our energy use, these have been no match for the fee increases. Since 2020 the co-op has seen its energy costs rise from just under $10,000 to an estimated cost of almost $20,000 for 2023.

We have an important update and a request for support from our community to ensure our co-op’s financial stability. We are excited to announce that we are transitioning to solar power at Marsh River Co-op!

To help fund the transition to solar, we are pursuing a USDA’S Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant. If awarded to MRC, USDA REAP will offset 40% ($52,000) of the $129,000 project cost. Additionally, MRC secured a low-interest loan commitment for the project’s total cost from Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI). With solar panels offsetting the co-op’s energy use, the monthly energy costs will stabilize and allow us to pay for the loan and energy use at a lower rate than the total CMP bill. A more affordable and predictable monthly power fee will increase the co-op’s resiliency to uncontrollable economic factors and allow us to continue supporting our community’s robust local food system. 

Solar Array Information & Potential Energy Savings:

  • Installation Projected Cost: $129,000
  • Solar Array Size: 47KW
  • Anticipated Yearly Generation: 40,643 – 50,803 KWhrs/Year
  • Estimated monthly energy savings: Approximately $950 – $1200, depending on production, efficiencies, and current energy prices. 
  • Estimated lifetime savings (40-year life span): $600,217

How You Can Help

While the benefits of solar energy are undeniable, the initial investment required is significant. We need your help with this big initiative. 

Phase One Fundraising: 

Before installing the solar array, we need to make structural improvements to the pole barn that are estimated at $5,000. We are seeking contributions from our members and community to help offset this upfront cost.

Phase Two Fundraising:

In June, we will learn whether we have received USDA REAP funds. The balance of the solar installation will be funded by the CEI loan with a scheduled monthly payment of $875.61. 

Your support will help reduce this monthly loan payment and bolster the co-op’s financial stability, providing a cushion against unforeseen costs such as emergency repairs and persistent inflation.

How to Contribute

If you are able to make a monetary contribution, click on the button below.

Or contribute at the co-op when you check out via the register or the collection jar.

By contributing to the solar array installation, you are supporting the long-term sustainability of the co-op and ensuring that it can remain a valuable resource for the community.

If you are interested in learning more about the details of the project, please review this information sheet. If you have any questions, email us at

The Marsh River Cooperative is a 1120-C Cooperative Association. Unlike a non-profit or charity, monetary gifts to the cooperative are not tax deductible. However, as a Cooperative Association, we are able to accept a donations through a  Fiscal Sponsor. This establishes a separate entity that can receive monetary contributions, which count as a tax deduction. If you’re interested in making a large  financial contribution, please contact us directly at to discuss that option.