Austin’s Children’s Haven Association Goes Solar!

A bedrock in the Austin community for more than seven decades, The Children’s Haven Association (TCHA) has helped disadvantaged individuals and families in marginalized communities within Travis County and surrounding districts.

In November 2021, in partnership with Solar Austin, TCHA installed an 8.64 kW photovoltaic (PV) system at its facility in the heart of East Austin’s Blackland community.

Solar installation at The Children's Haven Association

Credit: Solar Austin

“The Children’s Haven Association (TCHA) is excited to join forces with the solar community, to introduce pathways that solar resources present for economic growth within our community,” said Marilyn Poole, TCHA Director Programming and Operations. “We are grateful to Solar Austin for corralling the network of otherwise competing companies for our installation and inaugural solar camp,” she said.

“Partnering with local solar installers and advocates to make this project at The Children’s Haven Association a reality was such an honor,” said Tatianna Cannon, Solar Austin Executive Director. “TCHA has served the Austin community for decades, and Solar Austin is privileged to work with many organizations to increase awareness of and access to the benefits of solar to underserved Austin neighborhoods, ensuring that the benefits of clean energy are equitably accessible to all,” she said.

According to Cannon, the entire initiative took about eight months from start to finish. Donations and partnerships from Lighthouse Solar, Freedom Solar, Unirac, Del Valle ISD’s Opportunity Center, NATiVE Solar, Enphase, Kinect Solar, Austin Energy, and CED Greentech made the project a reality.

“As CEO of LighthouseSolar and long-time board member of Solar Austin, I’m proud to be involved with the solar and storage community installation at the Children’s Haven in Austin, Texas,” said Stan Pipkin. “Between the climate crisis and the modernization of our critical infrastructure lie the communities we live in – communities with unequal access to the benefits that renewables and energy system upgrades provide. It’s critical as a member of this community that we mobilize our efforts to find ways to increase awareness of and access to these benefits,” he said.

Credit: Solar Austin

“Although adding one resilient solar and storage project to the grid doesn’t solve our climate challenge, it can gather and inspire a community of people that engaged collective action is possible and that collective action is the key towards addressing climate goals without leaving our communities behind,” said Pipkin.

“We look forward to inspiring youth and young adults, with jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities within sustainable energy industries,” said Poole. “Most of all, TCHA hopes to continue its legacy as a resource for information and education of marginalized individuals, households, and community institutions.”

Solar Austin will host a ribbon-cutting at TCHA early in 2022.