Funding enables community-led initiatives in Appalachia, Southern Virginia, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 14, 2023 – Today, Sol Systems, a national solar energy company focused on developing and operating renewable energy assets with community impact, announced an additional $1.2 million in investments into community organizations focused on environmental justice, workforce training and climate resiliency. This investment builds on the initial $200,000 invested in 2022 and commits new funding to the original five partners while adding five new partners: Appalachian Voices, Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative, Community Housing Partners, Climate Access Fund, and Rebuilding Together DC Alexandria.
“At Sol we aim to build critical sustainable infrastructure for the future and also ensure that local communities benefit. We are proud to expand our collaboration and investment with these community partner organizations and Microsoft and look forward to building on this foundation moving forward,” said Yuri Horwitz, Chief Executive Officer.
“Microsoft has made commitments to environmental sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and racial equity, and an important point of intersection for these commitments is environmental justice. For us, the foundation of pursuing environmental justice is to center communities and those who have been impacted most by industrial pollution and are more vulnerable to climate change. We believe it is important to fund community-serving organizations like these to implement solutions with partners like Sol Systems,” said Danielle Decatur, Director of Environmental Justice, Microsoft.
The total announced $1.4 million in investments is the initial phase of a partnership with Microsoft, announced in July of 2020, that combines a 500 MW framework power purchase agreement (PPA) with a strategy to invest over $50 million in communities disproportionately impacted by environmental issues.
“Appalachian Voices is thrilled to partner with Sol Systems to expand the breadth of support offered by our Appalachian Solar Finance Fund (SFF) to community anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals, libraries, and fire departments in coal-impacted Central Appalachian counties. The Impact investment in the SFF establishes a dedicated ‘solar readiness’ funding pool targeted toward facilities whose key barrier to solar is related to poor roof conditions. This innovative approach will help overcome pre-development barriers for otherwise viable solar projects in economically depressed areas where deferred maintenance is a chronic issue,” said Autumn Long, Director, Appalachian Solar Finance Fund.
“Community Housing Partners (CHP) is excited to partner with Sol Systems on a project that will allow our residents at S.A. Robinson Apartments in Pembroke, Virginia, to obtain critical home repairs and energy efficiency upgrades. Not only will this investment help to reduce resident electric bills through increased energy efficiency and improve resident comfort, but it also demonstrates that we value and listen to our residents’ feedback,” said Shaun Rai, Senior Vice President of Multifamily Housing at Community Housing Partners. “CHP is committed to providing high-quality, affordable, and sustainable housing,” he said.
“Creating energy-efficient homes for low-income individuals and families is critical to our mission of creating safe, healthy, and affordable homes for everyone. The investment from Sol Systems to help us make energy-efficient upgrades to supportive housing units will not only benefit the residents but the community and nonprofits that support them,” said Katharine Dixon, CEO, Rebuilding Together DC Alexandria.
"The Climate Access Fund is excited to partner with Sol Systems as we establish a new model of community solar developed in and for under-resourced communities. With Sol Systems' support and partnership with the Henderson-Hopkins School, the Climate Access Fund's 800 kW Solar4Us @ Henderson-Hopkins project in East Baltimore will provide discounted solar power to over 150 low-income households, employment opportunities to community members, and an after-school learning club to middle school students. The impact funding is providing critical financial and technical support to this demonstration project and to the Climate Access Fund's ability to replicate the model,” stated Lynn Heller, Founder/CEO, Climate Access Fund
“It is with great honor and anticipation that the Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative (VEJC) begins this most needed and important community investment work with Sol Systems and Microsoft to build a solar and battery storage resiliency hub in Petersburg, VA. The VEJC welcomes the initiative, which shares our vision of environmental equity for all communities. We look forward to a collaboration that unites the strengths of each organization to create community impact through large-scale renewable energy procurement and collaboration towards a just energy transition. Together, our united goals are within reach,” stated Queen Shabazz, CEO, Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative.
About Sol Systems
Sol Systems is a leading national solar energy firm with an established reputation for integrity and reliability across its development, infrastructure, and environmental commodity businesses. Sol is operating and building over 1.5 GW of solar projects valued at more than $1 billion for Fortune 100 companies, municipalities, counties, utilities, universities, and schools and provides environmental commodity portfolio management services to more than 20,000 customers across the US. The company was founded in 2008, is based in Washington, D.C., and is led by its founder. Sol Systems works with institutional clients, corporate partners, and foundations to create a more sustainable future we can all believe in. For more information, visit https://www.solsystems.com/.