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SolSolution: Bringing Solar Energy to Schools in the United States

 
SolSolution is an organization that embodies so many good things that you might be inclined to jump up and start clapping after reading this article. The organization combines solar power with the best qualities of innovative solar financing and solar advocacy. There are many great solar companies and solar organizations out there, but I think SolSolution might take the cake as the most lovable. Take a look at this exclusive guest post and tell me if it doesn’t make you smile:

By Devika Narayan

SolSolution, a Boston-based nonprofit startup providing solar energy solutions for K-12 schools, is quickly making a huge impact on local school systems in Massachusetts. The nonprofit has a clear yet powerful dual mission: simultaneously generate clean, renewable electricity and increase the quality of education in underprivileged schools.

This startup social enterprise stands out because of its unique take on the established, for-profit solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) model. Under a traditional PPA agreement, a customer (the school) agrees to purchase solar power at long-term, stabilized rates from an independent provider (SolSolution). The nonprofit takes this model one step further by reinvesting their profits back into schools.

SolSolution owns and installs solar panels on schools’ roofs and then sells schools the electricity generated from these panels at a discounted rate to lower their electricity costs. It then uses what would normally be considered profits to provide all partner schools with a core educational offering in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, solar energy, and green entrepreneurship. Additionally, low-income schools have exclusive access to direct funding through SolSolution’s Solar Powered Schools Granting Program.

SolSolution recently celebrated its pilot solar school installation at Aruna’s Place in Sudbury, MA last December. The 3.9 kW installation provides for a significant portion of the school’s electricity needs, giving students a unique opportunity to learn about solar energy firsthand.  Since completing the installation, Aruna’s Place has generated over 1,360 kilowatt-hours, which is enough to provide a typical American household with 44 days of electricity! The solar panels have also contributed to offsetting approximately 1,800 lbs of CO2 emissions. Over their 20-year partnership with SolSolution, Aruna’s Place will save hundreds of dollars every year on their electricity bill, which will provide increased funding for educational activities for the students.

SolSolution’s business model eliminates all upfront costs for its partner schools and takes care of all the hassle a potential school partner might expect in the process of going solar. Morevoer, with the additional educational offerings, SolSolution becomes a long-term partner and advocate for schools to help improve the quality of education.

What’s even more exciting is that SolSolution’s solar solution for schools is highly scalable for even larger installations. Plans for new school partnerships are already in the woodworks at over 30 different schools and school districts across MA, ranging from a 50-kW private school to a 2-MW district-level installation and amounting to over 8 MW of solar on schools. Due to the tax-based solar incentives in the United States, SolSolution raises capital for these larger projects through a combination of philanthropy and investment, rallying community donors, sophisticated investors, and high-impact foundations around these solar projects. In the end, SolSolution provides a united opportunity for everyone interested to make a significant environmental and social contribution today and for our next generation.

With the success of SolSolution’s first installation, the nonprofit continues making strides in solar solutions and educational funding for schools. SolSolution is well on its way to lighting up the path to a brighter future in Massachusetts and ultimately across the nation.

All images courtesy SolSolution

 
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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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