Solar For Springfield Museums Donors Put Their Money Where It Will Make A Difference In Myriad Ways

Solar for Springfield Museums Donors Put Their Money Where It Will Make a Difference in Myriad Ways

This is a great marriage for us—nonprofits plus solar power. We feel we are actually making a difference in combating climate change. —Morey Phippen and Brian Adams, residents of Northampton and founders of Phippenadams Solar

From now on the Wood Museum of Springfield History will be generating some of its own electrical power thanks to a Northampton couple who refuse to give in to climate change.

“Sometimes we are in despair about climate change,” said Morey Phippen, who worked for decades in reproductive health before retirement. “But this project has given us heart—we are doing something!”

What Phippen and her husband Brian Adams are doing is purchasing and installing solar panels for nonprofits, asking those nonprofits to pay much-reduced electric bills via Phippenadams Solar for six years (using that money to invest in more solar panels for more nonprofits), and then giving the panels to the nonprofit for keeps.

“Morey and Brian were offering us a way to go solar,” said Bernie Spirito, Chief Financial Officer for the Springfield Museums. “Being able to install the panels without the upfront costs made is possible for us to do this important project.”

Adams, who is a retired Professor of Environmental Science from Greenfield Community College, explained: “When both our sets of parents died, we were left with a large inheritance, more than enough to support us and create nest eggs for our children. We wanted to do something with the rest of the money that would have a positive impact on the world.” So they came up with an idea that supported two passions—nonprofits and solar energy. By helping nonprofits access solar energy, Adams said, the nonprofit would be able to invest more money in their mission (instead of energy costs) and help the environment by using renewable energy.

“This is a great marriage for us—nonprofits plus solar power,” Phippen said. “We feel we are actually making a difference in combating climate change.”

The Springfield Museums will be the twenty-ninth nonprofit aided by Phippenadams Solar. Most of the connections with the nonprofits chosen have been forged through word of mouth. “One of our staff members heard that the Connecticut River Conservancy received free solar panels and then she learned Morey and Brian’s story—how they wanted to pay their inheritance forward. She got their contact information for me and the rest is history,” said Spirito.

“We were particularly excited to help the Springfield Museums,” Phippen said. “We visited often with our children as they were growing up—they loved the animal dioramas. And we still participate even now that our children are older; my daughter and I just signed up for a Museum School travel program.”

Adams added, “We are particularly impressed that all Springfield residents can visit the Museums for free. That means a lot.”

Phippen and Adams feel rewarded by the connections they are making throughout the Connecticut River Valley. They chose programs that they believe make positive impact on society: youth programs, homeless shelters, community gardens, environmental agencies, and other learning organizations. Here are comments from agencies that now have solar power thanks to Phippen and Adams:

The Drama Studio, a Springfield Youth Theater and Outreach Conservatory

“Brian and Morey’s gift to the Drama Studio has meant far more than they could know, and will continue to have a huge impact, not only on the environment, but on a growing community of young people and their families. When you have a theatre full of 200 kids, you’re going to have a home that is full of passionate young people. They are passionate about their art, about making a difference, about caring for each other, and so many of them are passionate about not only their Drama Studio home, but our global home. Our students express joyful gratitude to Brian, Morey and Northeast Solar for making our home ‘powered’ by that commitment. The financial impact that this gift will have on our ability to uphold the mission of Drama Studio is tremendous.  Sustainability has a double meaning with this amazing donation.”

—Amelia Hays-Rivest, Director of The Drama Studio Conservatory

The Martin Luther King Jr. Family Center, Springfield

“The gift from Brian and Morey is the single largest contribution ever made to the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services, Inc. The gift of the solar panels will have multiple layers of affects beyond the savings in energy cost.  The savings will allow us to have more funds to apply to direct, indirect services and other infrastructure support needs. This means we can store more food for emergency pantry programming and expand hours for youth open gym activities on the weekends thus providing a much need outlet as a deterrent to the streets. The MLKFS board of directors, our youth, families, staff and I will benefit from this gift for many years to come. We wish Brian and Morey good health and peace in knowing that their gifts have lifted the lives of some of our community most in need of the resources provided by the Martin Luther King Jr Services, Inc.”

—Ronn Johnson, Executive Director Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services, Inc.

The Connecticut River Conservancy, an environmental protection advocacy group

“Morey and Brian’s donation of solar panels is key in the transformation of our historic building in Greenfield, MA. Not only will this work reduce CRC’s carbon footprint but it also shifts more funds toward river stewardship and restoration and away from dirty fossil fuels. Now that’s a WIN-WIN-WIN!”

—Andrew Fisk, Executive Director Connecticut River Conservancy

“We are meeting so many remarkable people doing remarkable work in remarkable places,” Adams said. “And our contractor, Northeast Solar, is a flexible and can-do partner.”

“This is a big valley,” Phippen said, “But people know each other and they share a passion for making things better for everyone.”

Adding the solar panels to the Wood Museum of Springfield History will save the Museums $100,000 over 20 years, Spirito said. “And once our Science Museum has a new roof, Morey and Brian are committed to helping us again.” Renewable energy and sustainability are important goals for the Springfield Museums, especially in the Science Museum.

“The Springfield Museums are striving to be accessible for all,” said Kay Simpson, President and CEO of the Springfield Museums. “And that accessibility includes setting up systems that are sustainable, long-lived, and teach at the same time that they help our museums function.” Solar energy, she said, is a great lesson in innovation, invention, and sustainability. “We are deeply grateful to Morey and Brian for helping us make this important step toward a better understanding of how to help combat climate change.”

About Phippenadams Solar

Established in 2016, Phippenadams Solar is an LLC (limited liability corporation) whose goal is to install photovoltaics on the solar-suitable buildings of nonprofit organizations whose mission the corporation embraces. Phippenadams Solar installs the solar panels at no cost to the organization and negotiates a six-year purchase power agreement at a much reduced electric rate. Phippenadams receives the green financial incentives offered by Massachusetts as well as federal tax breaks that come with installing solar—which the nonprofit cannot collect because of their tax-except status. After six years, Phippenadams donates the solar system to the nonprofit. In the meantime, the company continues to use the financial incentives and money from the purchased power agreements to install more solar panels on more nonprofits.

Organizations with Phippenadams Solar (List provided by Phippenadams):

1) Northampton Survival Center: Food pantry, 9.3 kW, 9/16/16

2) CISA: Promoting local food and agriculture, 11.52 kW, 9/21/17

3) Massachusetts Audubon Society at Arcadia: Nature Center, 5.6 kW (tracking unit), 10/13/17

4) Peace Development Fund: Peace and social justice, 7.04 kW,  11/8/17

5) Grove Street Inn:  Homeless shelter, 10.9 kW, 12/8/17

6) Historic Northampton: Museum, buildings, events celebrating Northampton’s history, 10.385 kW, 3/5/18

7) Amherst Survival Center: Food pantry, clothing, meals, 24.78 kW, 3/15/18

8) Nasami Farm: Native Plant Conservancy, 17.4 kW, 4/19/18

9) Dial Self Turners Falls: Housing for teens, 6.84 kW, 5/14/18

10) Service Net Admin: Mental health agency offices, 13.44 kW, 5/31/18

11) Service Net Housing: Housing for folks with mental health issues, 12.06 kW, 5/31/18

12) Dakin Animal Shelter Leverett:  Animal shelter, 18.59 kW, 6/21/18

13) Gardening the Community: Local food and food justice, 5.4 kW, 6/27/18

14) Dial Self Greenfield: Housing for teens, 5.76 kW, 6/29/18

15) Planned Parenthood, Worcester clinic: Reproductive health, 17.28 kW, 7/20/18

16) Stavros Amherst: Disabilities services, 24.96 kW, 8/3/18

17) Prospect Meadow Farm: Farm experience for folks with mental health issues, 11.8 kW, 8/17/18

18) NCYF Admin: Northeast Center for Youth and Families, 24.78 kW, 9/4/18

19) Service Net Admin: Village Hill, Mental health agency offices, 24.96 kW, 9/19/18

20) Gandara Friends House: Permanent housing for homeless adults, 7.92 kW, 9/20/18

21) Brookfield Farm: Organic farm intern housing, 12.24 kW, 10/18/18

22) Service Net Whately: Opioid addiction housing, 12.24 kW, 10/19/18

23) Dakin Springfield: Animal shelter, 24.84 kW, 11/28/18

24) Just Roots Farm: Farm, community gardens, food justice advocacy , 12.80 kW, 1/17/19

25) Service Net Pleasant Street: Substance use counseling,  19.08 kW, 1/31/19

26) Stavros Springfield : Disability services, 37.44 kW, 7/17/19

27) The Drama Studio: Children’s drama in Springfield, 20.52 kW, 8/12/19

28) MLK Jr. Family Center: Counseling and youth services, 17.28 kW, 9/30/19

29) Springfield History Museum: Springfield history, 28.8 kW, 12/6/19

30) NEARI School: School for challenged students , 23.94 kW,  12/9/19

31) Quabbin Harvest: Food coop owned by land trust, 14.4 kW, 12/16/19

32) Connecticut River Conservancy: Environmental advocacy organization, 23.76 kW,

33) Northampton Senior Center : Senior center , 29.925 kW

34) Dial Self Northampton: Housing for teens, 11.725 kW

35) Springfield Science Museum: Science Museum, 28.8 kW

36) Planned Parenthood Boston: Reproductive Health


For more information:

About The Springfield Museums

 THE SPRINGFIELD MUSEUMS are located on the Quadrangle at 21 Edwards Street in the heart of downtown Springfield, Massachusetts. The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated consortium of museums includes the Springfield Science Museum, the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History, the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, and the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, the first and only museum dedicated to the beloved children’s book author and Springfield native.

The Museums are open Tuesday—Saturday, 10 am—5 pm; Sunday, 11 am—5 pm. One admission gains access to all five museums: Members free, Nonmembers: $25, adults; $16.50, seniors & college students; $13, children 3–17; under 3 free. Springfield Residents: FREE with Springfield Access Card and proof of address.

For More Information:

Karen Fisk, Director of Marketing and Communication Strategy, One Admission/Five Museums,

including the one and only Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum

Parking is always FREE