SolarCity is on a mission to light up the dark corners of the world.
SolarCity created a nonprofit called the Give Power Foundation that will bring solar power systems to the developing world. For every megawatt of residential solar power that SolarCity installs in 2014, it will donate a solar and battery system to schools without access to electricity.
If your heart strings aren’t tugged yet, check out the video on the Give Power website featuring an adorable kid wielding a sign that says “thank you for light.”
1.4 billion people don’t have access to electricity, representing 20% of the world’s population. Furthermore there are nearly 291 million children attending schools without electricity.
Not having access to electricity has a significant and detrimental impact on education. It means no lighting, no computers, no Internet, and no printers. This limits the amount of time students can spend learning and studying. It also removes the possibility for students and teachers to learn computer skills, access online learning resources, and make use of printed learning materials.
SolarCity is addressing these issues by making clean power accessible to people who need it. In it’s most recent earnings call, SolarCity said it plans to deploy between 475 and 525 megawatts next year (to its paying customers), which would translate into 475 to 525 donated solar power and battery systems for needy schools.
That’s bringing light to a lot of communities.
The company is partnering with buildOn, a nonprofit that builds schools is in poor rural communities, to make this happen. SolarCity will train buildOn employees and work with local communities to install and maintain the solar power systems in places like Nicaragua. Haiti, Malawi, Mali, Nepal, and Senegal.
These efforts also make education available to adults who work during the day, and thus don’t have the opportunity to learn. With electricity, schools can be active in the evenings and function as community meeting places.
And of course there are environmental benefits. Installing a solar power system means communities won’t depend on less sustainable power sources.
SolarCity was founded back in 2006 and went public in 2012; it is one of three public companies that Elon Musk is involved in (the other two are SpaceX and Tesla Motors). Its business is based on financing and leasing rooftop solar panels for residential, government, and commercial use. The goal is to provide more flexible payment and installation options so high upfront costs don’t discourage people from going solar.
Give Power is a shining example (pun intended) of a corporation using its resources, technology, and expertise in an authentic and meaningful way.