Location: Massachusetts, USA
Solar power has been sweeping across the U.S. with new financing models and tax incentives making it more and more affordable for people to install solar panels on their roofs. Solar panels have great benefits, providing energy savings and protecting the environment, but they aren’t available to everyone. Currently, 50% of businesses and households in the U.S. can’t access rooftop solar; criteria such as home ownership, high credit scores, as well as the slant and direction of the roof are cutting people off from clean energy all over the country. These criteria discriminate especially against lower income populations that are less likely to own a home or have good enough credit to qualify. Solstice Initiative is opening a new path to solar energy through community partnership.
Co-founders Steph Speirs and Steve Moilanen were working as consultants in India when they realized that rural villages had better access to solar energy through their community grids than most people in the US. They vowed to change this reality upon their return, and founded Solstice Initiative to create the markets for community solar projects. Solstice partners with solar providers, and works through community organizations to teach people about the benefits of community solar and sell shares in new solar arrays. People who buy shares save 10-15% off their electricity bills each month while funding the addition of more solar power to the grid.
Solstice was founded in 2014 and began its first pilot in January of 2015. By the end of 2015, they will have completed their third pilot. Currently focused in Massachusetts, Solstice looks to expand nationwide. Community solar is the next wave of solar. A report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that by 2020 up to 50% of Solar in the US will be shared. With all of these obstacles removed, it’s only a matter of time before solar will be available to all households in the US.
Measurement: Solstice Initiative
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