SVdP debut nonprofit site for APS Solar Communities Program

“One of the great things about being on our team at St. Vincent de Paul here in Phoenix, is seeing God’s generous Providence to our work,” St. Vincent de Paul Executive Director Steve Zabilski says.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Zabilski qualifies, “there are hundreds of great community and faith-based organizations all across Arizona.  We partner with many dozens of them, and I’m certain that God’s grace helps them all, too.

“But all I can tell you is that I can see His generosity and care for us literally every day,” he continues. “And nearly always, it comes wrapped in the kindness and care of our friends and neighbors.”

In the Spring of 2019, observers would need look no further than the Society’s main North parking lot — usually full of cars for Vincentians, dedicated volunteers and SVdP employees — to see an example of Zabilski’s words.

Thanks to Arizona Public Service Company, the state’s largest public utility company, SVdP’s main lot is now home to APS solar panels covering 144 parking spaces. 

That may not seem directly supportive of SVdP’s work, but the energy harvested by the panels — enough to power 86 homes a day — serves to lower SVdP’s electricity bill so those savings can help the people SVdP serves. That’s a big impact to be gained for one of Arizona’s largest human services charities with the added bonus of all furthering Arizona’s renewable energy efforts.

“We are so thrilled and so grateful for this project,” Zabilski says. “This is literally a million-dollar project for APS, and with our focus on serving economically-challenged families, we could never have afforded such an investment.

“What APS has done is a miracle in every way. We are so grateful for their generosity to our mission and to the volunteers and donors who work with us to serve others.”

SVdP served as the inaugural nonprofit construction and installation site of the APS Solar Communities Program, which partners with established nonprofits to provide solar-generating parking panels across Arizona.

The project was coordinated by SVdP’s Senior Advisor Steve Gervais, who submitted the application to APS and managed the project which began construction in February of 2019. The panels were fully installed, wired to ‘the grid’ and began generating clean solar energy by June, meeting the projected completion date.

“It was an honor for St. Vincent de Paul to be selected as the first site under the APS Solar Communities Program for nonprofits in Arizona,” Gervais said. “By any standard this was no small project. It was a pleasure to work with our partners at APS and their contractor Harmon Electric. They did a great job completing the project on schedule with no disruption to operations at SVdP.”

So while generosity, hard work, neighborly care and community spirit all power the work of the world’s largest chapter for SVdP, there can also be no doubt that plenty of power comes from APS solar panels in its parking lot too.

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