Sol Systems and Microsoft announced just over a year ago the launch of an agreement for Sol Systems to finance, develop and operate a portfolio of over 500MW of solar projects in the US and to sell energy from those projects to Microsoft. As part of the deal, Sol Systems and Microsoft were to invest in grants and investments in under-resourced communities and people disproportionately impacted by climate change. Today Sol Systems announced its first set of investments associated with its Master Power Purchase and Community Impact Agreement with Microsoft.
Sol Systems has contributed $200,000 to four community-based organizations focused on communities in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC and one new national non-profit focused on increasing diversity in the solar industry. Through the partnership, Sol will invest at least $50 Million in underserved communities across the US, beginning with an investment of approximately $1.2 Million in 2022.
The five initial partner organizations are: GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic, PowerCorps PHL, Bright Solar Futures, Groundswell, and Black Owners of Solar Services (BOSS). Each of these partners are focused on workforce development, energy access, or community resiliency. This initial step is intended to lay the groundwork for future partnerships and future investments over the next 20 years.
According to Yuri Horwitz, co-founder and CEO, Sol Systems, these partnerships are part of the company’s effort to maximize community impact.
Microsoft has a goal of 100% of their electricity consumption matched by zero carbon energy purchases by 2030, coupled with support for underserved communities.
The funding for the organizations will be used in various ways. Elijah Perry, executive director of GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic, sees the investment as advancing environmental justice “by creating pathways into the solar workforce for people of color and in the most underserved communities in our region.” PowerCorpsPHL trains people in sustainable careers, and Executive Director, Julia Hillengas said that partnering with Sol Systems will “ensure that access to these opportunities continue in our communities.”
In Baltimore the funding will support the City of Refuge. According to Michelle Moore, CEO of Groundwell, “The solar generation there will also reduce the facility’s own electricity bills – freeing up funds for additional direct services”.
This article was updated on January 27, 2022 to add Mid-Atlantic to Elijah Perry’s title.
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