Blog : Local Renewable Energy Duo Ride 2,000 Miles for Solar Charity

By Magill | May 20, 2014 | in

By Patrick Martin

PORTSMOUTH - Josh Andrews and Chris Pamboukes are two Portsmouth, N.H. residents who share a deep love of cycling. This summer they plan to put that passion to work in stimulating positive change for the Seacoast area.

On July 14th the two will begin a 2,000-mile bicycle trek along the Pacific coastline from Vancouver, B.C. to San Diego, Calif.

If endurance cycling wasn’t enough, they have decided to take the challenge further and organized Pedal for Power, a local fundraiser to help others, help the environment and bring together community.  Andrews and Pamboukes began this donate-per-mile bikeathon fundraiser to cover the installation cost of a solar electric power system to be built at Cross Roads House.  

Located on Route 1 in Portsmouth, Cross Roads House is a 96 bed emergency and transitional shelter serving men, women and children in the Seacoast area who are experiencing homelessness.

Since 1982, Cross Roads has provided an estimated 500,000 shelter nights to over 5,000 different individuals and families. The facility offers a wide range of supportive services and programs for those in need, including case management, telephone and internet access, warm meals served daily by volunteers, on-site health care, dental care and much more.

Through the years, both Andrews and Pamboukes have been involved in and organized a multitude of philanthropy events and high-profile athletic challenges.

Andrews, whose close friends characterize as modest, participated in the 2013 and 2014 Boston Marathons – most recently placing 204th out of over 17,000 who were able to finish the grueling challenge of physical endurance. After the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, Andrews was also responsible for organizing a 2.62-mile charity race to benefit a Chelmsford victim of the tragedy.

In 2004, Pamboukes received recognition by the Greater Portsmouth Education Partnership Council for his volunteer work at Cross Roads House in Portsmouth through the tutoring program Students Helping Students in Need.

“Volunteering at Cross Roads House during high school helped me begin to recognize the real struggles and hardships many individuals and families can face in our world, our country and our local communities,” said Pamboukes.

Just ten years after his initial work at the shelter, Pamboukes plans to help out once more – this time with the aid of his employer, and Green Alliance Business Partner, ReVision Energy. The Green Alliance is an entity that connects like-minded green businesses and the community that supports them.

“It is an honor and a privilege to have an opportunity to combine my passions and my career in a personal way that creates a tangible, positive impact in the community I grew up in. Portsmouth is my home and it has supported me a lot along the way to where I am now,” said Pamboukes, about what it was like to get back to Cross Roads House.

“This project is grassroots at its core, so we believe many locals who value close community will recognize the benefits the solar energy system will provide at Cross Roads House and here in Portsmouth,” said Pamboukes.

The new 16-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system will include 62 panels positioned on the south facing roof of the Cross Roads House facility. ReVision Energy will build the new array in the space just beneath the solar hot water system installed by Seacoast Energy in 2009 and 2012.

This new project is a huge step for the shelter that supports the concept of a renewably powered building for the area’s less fortunate. The installation is projected to save Cross Roads House approximately $3,200 a year for the next 30 years. For an organization that helped 386 different individuals last year, this reduction in overhead costs is comparable to providing approximately 3,000 meals every year. On top of that, the system will cancel out 27,000 pounds of annual carbon dioxide emissions – equaling 560 trees planted per year.

Perhaps another positive externality generated by the project is its positioning. Facing south to the heavy traffic of the Route 1 Corridor, the glimmering panels are likely to catch the eye of passersby – acting as a beacon for renewable energy and community service in the Seacoast area.  

“It has the chance to inspire many people to learn more about the solar industry that’s alive and well right here in New Hampshire and New England,” said Pamboukes.

That said, the major obstacle remaining between Cross Roads House and solar-powered facility is funding – which Andrews and Pamboukes hope to tackle with their noble journey.

Through their website, community outreach events, and various media outlets, the two aim to raise awareness and funds to reach their goal of $50,000, which is ReVision’s price for installing the solar array at cost.

“For two local Joes like ourselves this financial goal will continue to be a large and difficult task,” Pamboukes said, “but we believe that if we get support from as many local people in our community as we can, many $20 to $100 contributions will add up.”

Pedal for Power is currently asking for Penny-Per-Mile and Nickel-Per-Mile donations, which equate to $20 and $100 respectively. However, there is also an opportunity for businesses and other organizations to sponsor the initiative.

So far, large donations have been made by businesses like Port City ‘Peds, New England Printing, Bowl-O-Rama, The Thirsty Moose Taphouse, Flat Bread Pizza Company, the Green Alliance and many others. However, Andrews and Pamboukes are looking for another lead sponsor to join ReVision Energy in putting a bigger dent in the $50,000 goal.

“We at ReVision Energy want the solar industry to grow not only because it helps our business, but we genuinely believe in its ability to curb the over consumption of finite fuels that pollute our environment. It’s one thing to try and raise $50,000 dollars in six months, but the real challenge is developing a sustainable future filled with opportunity that everyone can prosper in,” said Pamboukes.

So this summer, keep an eye out for the Pedal For Power duo around the greater Seacoast as they gear up to make positive change happen. They will be training on their stationary bikes in various locations in an effort to promote awareness and rally the support of those generous enough to contribute to building a piece of the Seacoast’s sustainable future.

For anyone interested to learn more or donate to their mission, Andrews and Pamboukes invite you to visit www.PedalForPower.com. On the website you can learn more about who’s involved, what motivated PFP, related community events, and general awareness on the topics of homelessness and renewable energy.

For more information on ReVision Energy, visit www.revisionenergy.com.

To learn more about the Green Alliance, visit www.greenalliance.biz.