Infrastructure + Impact Spotlight Series

Infrastructure + Impact Spotlight Series

Community Impact |
By Adaora Ifebigh

At Sol Systems, we work with our customers to design tailored programs for a more sustainable infrastructure solution. We do this because we believe in the work, it maps to our own culture and mission, and we can help lead our customers to make a transition they might not otherwise make. Our work connects our investments and projects to the communities in which we work and operate through educational programs focused on sustainability and clean energy, through job training programs, and through integrated economic activities. We focus on three aspects of the life cycle for the projects that we develop and/or finance: (1) site selection, (2) development, and (3) operations. In each phase, we aim to maximize overall impact.

As part of our commitment to supporting under-resourced communities through infrastructure investment and development, on May 17, 2022, Sol Systems and FedEx announced a unique charitable arrangement with So Others Might Eat (SOME), a local Washington DC non-profit. This effort builds off the 915Kw solar system Sol Systems constructed on the roof of the FedEx Express Eckington Place facility in Northeast Washington, D.C. A portion of the energy credits generated from the project will be donated to SOME and help offset annual electricity costs at two of their facilities in Ward 5. At these facilities and through its overall mission, SOME provides programs to support DC residents who are burdened by mental health, homelessness, and poverty.

In addition, Sol has partnered with Microsoft to combine a 500MW framework power purchase agreement (one of the country’s largest) with a groundbreaking strategy to invest in under-resourced communities and communities disproportionately impacted by climate change. As part of this initiative, Sol Systems will identify places where we can craft community-based energy solutions, support local workforce development opportunities and partner with local organizations working to address challenges in their communities. 

In this spotlight series, we will provide the opportunity for our staff, partners, and customers to get to know the community-based organizations we work with and to learn more about Sol’s journey to help facilitate a more just and fair energy future.

The first five organizations are based in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC, all focused on issues related to renewable energy, environmental justice, jobs creation and training, habitat restoration, and other community and societal impact challenges. In the coming months, you will hear more about these organizations and how Sol Systems works with them towards an equitable clean energy future.

PowerCorpsPHL based in Philadelphia, connects disconnected young adults and returning citizens to careers by using community service as a model to provide education and paid work experience. Sol’s partnership will help PowerCorpsPHL to expand a skills-building program focused on mathematics and construction and field tests for the utility industry, increase career exposure opportunities for the students and address transportation logistics services for the program graduates.

Philadelphia Energy Authority’s Bright Solar Future (BSF) program provides access to solar careers for young people in Philadelphia, growing a diverse and more equitable workforce that will help make national climate priorities a reality. The students who are primarily from communities of color, train in solar and battery storage installation, sales, design, weatherization, construction basics, and job site safety. Sol’s partnership will help curriculum development and equipment purchases for their new energy storage training model and adapt existing curriculum to create a permanent solar training program for various school districts.

Groundswell based in Washington DC, is a non-profit organization that builds community power through equitable community solar projects and resilience centers, clean energy programs that reduce energy burdens, and research initiatives that help light the way to clean energy futures for all. Groundswell is working with various partners in the energy industry including the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) to identify appropriate facilities for energy resiliency centers (solar + storage) serving low-income neighborhoods within Baltimore City. The non-profit  City of Refuge will be among the first resiliency centers in the city with solar and battery storage.

GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic (GRID Mid-Atlantic) based in Washington DC, is non-profit organization that provides no-cost solar installations and solar job training. Through their Solar Works DC Training and Solar Futures Programs, GRID provides group-based job training and education in solar system installation to residents with low incomes. Sol’s partnership will help GRID to provide its students with career support services (such as, career check-in sessions, resume techniques, professionalism in the workplace, etc.), financial and computer literacy programs, and other program support services.

Black Owners of Solar Services (BOSS) is a nationwide collaborative of entrepreneurs, financiers, veterans, attorneys, engineers, contractors, and developers whose mission is to combine and leverage their collective power to lead actionable solutions for sustained access to equitable opportunities in clean energy production, distribution, and storage for Black owned businesses. BOSS and Sol will collaborate in the development and implementation of a business-to-business mentorship and sponsorship program that will help connect diverse business owners to opportunities and relationships across the renewable energy industry

Sol Systems is making it a priority to continuously work with its partners to meaningfully engage with communities through innovative solutions to tackle local challenges and build a sustainable pathway for future generations. Our commitment to working with under-resourced and communities of color is ongoing and built into the mission and vision of our company.


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