Approximately 291 million children attend primary schools that lack electricity globally, and 1.4 billion people around the world do not have access to power according to the United Nations Development Programme. A new foundation launched Tuesday by American solar provider, SolarCity, will begin providing lights to schools for many of them-- for free.
The new foundation called the Give Power Foundation™ is partnering with an international nonprofit organization that builds schools in developing countries called build on to provide the solar-powered systems initially in Haiti, Mali, Malawi and Nepal. Build on also runs youth service programs in United States high schools, to help deliver power to communities in need.
In the announcement of the project today SolarCity® (Nasdaq: SCTY) said it launched “the Give Power Foundation™ to build a cleaner, more sustainable future by providing solar energy to those in need. For every megawatt of residential solar power that SolarCity installs in 2014, the company will bring light to a community by donating a solar power system and battery combination to a school without access to electricity.”
In a nutshell, SolarCity is launching a foundation to donate solar systems to schools in developing countries. The systems will come with a battery storage unit so that sunlight can be stored in the batteries to produce light at night. In impoverished communities, that could mean night school for adults and other community programs.
For every megawatt of residential solar power that SolarCity installs in 2014, it will donate a solar power/battery back up system to a school. This means that on average, for every 160 residential customers who go solar with SolarCity, another school will enjoy the gift of clean power.
“The United Nations has set the ambitious goal of ensuring that everyone in the world has access to electricity by 2030, while fighting climate change, and we are deeply committed to making this happen through the Give Power Foundation,” said Hayes Barnard, SolarCity’s Chief Revenue Officer and President of Give Power Foundation. Now every SolarCity customer will play a part in giving light to a community in need,” he added.
SolarCity’s Give Power Foundation is a California non-profit, public benefit corporation with anticipation of being granted exempt status as a 501c3 organization in 2014.
Just last week SolarCity announced the roll out of a system called DemandLogic™ that that automates the discharge of the stored energy to optimize utility charges resulting in savings for customers. The batteries offered by SolarCity are the same lithium-ion ones that power Tesla's electric vehicles, reconfigured for stationary use. SolarCity's chairman is Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla Motors.
In its announcement of that program SolarCity reported that its storage systems are available to new solar power customers through 10-year service agreements including monthly payments, with no upfront cost required. SolarCity will customize the system size to make it possible for businesses to save money immediately by saving more on energy costs than they spend for the storage service.
Solar power can be very effective in providing electricity to many isolated parts from the world that are too far from a reliable grid to make electricity readily available. When President Obama visited Africa last summer, he announced that the U.S. was joining with the UN to provide electricity to many parts of Africa, and in some cases, that would be done by solar power. This new Foundation will compliment that program.
Education is essential to lift people from poverty. Kids can not achieve their true potential in dark schools. For more information on how to get involved go to www.solarcity.com/givepower.