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CommuniCare+OLE Goes Solar in North Napa

Newly Installed Solar Array Funded by Unique Blend of Community Support and Novel Use of Federal Funding

December 14, 2023, Napa, CA –CommuniCare+OLE has taken its first step in actualizing on a robust sustainability plan with the installation of a substantial solar array at its Napa Valley Vintners North Napa Campus, effectively offsetting 73 tons of carbon every year. The solar panels were made possible by donations from the community as part of the Fund-A-Need to renovate the North Napa Campus during this year’s Vida OLE celebration. Additional support came in the form of federal funding through the Inflation Reduction Act, making CommuniCare+OLE one of the first health centers in the country to complete a solar project leveraging those funds. In addition to going solar, CommuniCare+OLE will undertake efforts to address carbon impact from facility operations, waste reduction, supply chain management, and employee engagement to embed sustainability into daily operations.  

“Climate change is a recognized threat to public health, and it disproportionately affects the most vulnerable populations – the very populations we are committed to caring for across Napa, Solano, and Yolo County,” said Alicia Hardy, CommuniCare+OLE CEO. “Our mission is to build healthier communities, and we have to address as many factors as we can – including environmental – to fulfill that mission. This is an important first step in reducing our carbon footprint and helping to ensure a better future for the planet.”

The panels were installed in partnership with Collective Energy Co, LLC, which supports health centers in the education, design, installation, and financing of solar, batteries, and/or microgrids. Collective Energy has partnered with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and Capital Link to form the CHARGE Partnership to support any health center in the country through the process.

“After working with health centers for almost two decades, I’ve come to care deeply about health centers and know the critical role they serve in their communities. I also understand how busy their staff is, and while there is often a desire to add a microgrid for all the benefits they provide, we know time is limited and as much of it as possible should remain dedicated to patients,” says Andrew MacCalla, Co-Founder and CEO of Collective Energy. “We removed that barrier and worked with OLE to identify their goals, design a bespoke system, support them in navigating Federal Funding opportunities, and install a microgrid in a way that suits them and benefits their patients and our planet. The first step can be hard to prioritize. We applaud OLE for making it a priority and setting an example to other health centers of making the transition to a just clean energy future.” 

A September 2021 consensus statement from more than 200 medical journals named climate change the number one threat to global public health. It exposes millions of people in the United States to harm every year through increases in extreme heat waves, wildfires, flooding, vector-borne diseases and other factors that worsen chronic health conditions.

The healthcare sector contributes to approximately 8.5% of U.S. emissions. CommuniCare+OLE’s joins with other health care organizations across the country to work toward the Biden Administration’s goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently recognized CommuniCare+OLE for signing onto the White House-HHS Health Sector climate pledge, which is a commitment to decarbonizing operations and improving resilience in the face of climate change.


About CommuniCare+OLE:

Established in 2023, CommuniCare+OLE is the result of a union of two health centers with a deep roots in their respective communities and reputations for providing high-quality primary care to all, regardless of insurance or ability to pay: OLE Health of Napa and Solano Counties and CommuniCare Health Centers of Yolo County. Building on a legacy established by both organizations in 1972, CommuniCare+OLE is a network of federally qualified health centers with 17 sites across Napa, Solano, and Yolo Counties. It offers comprehensive care, including medical, dental, behavioral health and substance use treatment, nutrition, optometry, pharmacy, care coordination, referrals, and enrollment assistance to more than 70,000 individuals, and no one is turned away due to lack of insurance, immigration status, or ability to pay. Many services are offered outside of its sites, including mobile health, home visiting, and community and school-based programs.