Our Impact

Solstice Initiative measures community impact in four key areas:

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Alleviate energy burden

Solstice Initiative is committed to the equitable adoption of clean energy in climate-impacted communities.

Money
Energy bill education

 We prioritize energy savings in climate-impacted communities through community participation in energy justice education and clean energy projects in Massachusetts, and New York.

 

The likelihood that households eligible for state or federal income-based programs (income-eligible) will exceed their ability to pay an energy bill is more often determined by the weatherization and condition of their home than household income.

Many states offer weatherization improvement programs that target income-eligible households, but these programs repeatedly enlist low enrollment. 
The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) offers commercial and residential developers 30% tax equity on costs for the installation of solar projects. 

However, most people, especially those enrolled in income-based programs, lack the tax appetite to benefit directly from the ITC. States that do have incorporated carve-outs, adders, subsidies and savings to encourage developers to include income-eligible households in these economic investments. Income-eligible households typically yield 10-15% energy bill savings through these programs.

Compass

Build intergenerational wealth

Jobs, opportunities, and clean energy project ownership

Tools
Jobs

For local community members in climate-impacted communities

Money
Opportunities

Energy savings and access to funding solutions

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Clean Energy Project Ownership

To ensure the economic, social, and environmental benefits of clean energy projects flow directly to climate-impacted communities.

Solstice Initiative is a nonprofit that revolutionizes the energy system by centering local leadership and ownership of clean energy projects in climate-impacted communities.

Direct ownership of solar assets allows the local community to realize full resulting economic benefits, not third party tax-equity investors. Solstice works at the nexus of clean energy and social justice to provide all households, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, home ownership status or other factors, access to clean energy through community-led energy, research and innovation, clean energy education, and advocacy for inclusive clean energy policies. We envision a future where accessible clean energy powers thriving communities.

Low-income households and historically redlined communities must have greater opportunities to yield social, economic, and environmental benefits from energy savings. The effects of the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation’s (HOLC) credit ratings still directly impact economic investment opportunities for communities today. climate-impacted communities did not have opportunities to gain intergenerational wealth through property ownership due to historic redlining and continuing racist lending practices. Moreover, the solar development industry is also less diverse than the US labor market, which constrains opportunities to connect and innovate with community members. In 2019, the solar industry’s workforce was 7.7% Black or African-American, despite Black workers representing 13% of the U.S. labor (2019, The Solar Foundation). Solar creates opportunities for dependable careers through workforce development and vocational training. On average, new hires have the potential to be promoted to a mid-level position within one year or less, resulting in a 17% pay raise (2019, The Solar Foundation).

Solstice Initiative is deploying accessible programs with a well-paid, local, and diverse workforce to engage community members in clean energy projects. 

Read the story behind how we facilitated community leadership in Boston and Buffalo.

Dollar
savings for the community over the lifetime of a community-led solar project

Our local energy pilot projects in Boston and Buffalo will deliver affordable clean energy to over 100 households. Depending on the ultimate size of our community-led project, we could generate $125 – $500 in savings a year for income-eligible community members and families in climate-impacted communities. That builds up to an estimated $1,335,000 in savings for the community over the lifetime of the project!

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Policy advocacy to advance community-led solar

Solstice Initiative’s program design is entirely led by local communities.

Policy Advocacy

We convene community partners to co-design solar projects that prioritize local values and opportunities to build wealth; advocate for community-led solar policy; and enhance access for community members. We believe in a future where communities participate in and take ownership of clean energy projects. We participate in coalitions across racial, economic and energy justice movements to promote the equitable adoption of clean energy in climate-impacted communities. Join our policy advocacy initiatives!

Communities understand the benefits of clean energy, but are presented with systemic barriers that prohibit access to it. Solstice Initiative identifies traditional barriers and cultivates resources and opportunities to co-design just energy solutions. We have partnered with the Department of Energy on two projects that will build accountability and accessibility in the energy system. Read about our policy work through our Department of Energy-funded research projects, SETO and Energy Score.

 
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Mobilize communities

Education mobilizes communities to participate in the energy democracy movement.

Through our Community Needs Assessments and community-based events climate-impacted communities and voices are prioritized in our policy advocacy and communications.

Solstice Initiative hosts events on the following topics:

  • Energy Justice
  • Energy Democracy
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Energy Equity
  • Policy and Research
  • Green Careers

In addition, our local Project Team members host regular Community Advisory Board meetings in Boston and partner meetings with PUSH Buffalo to engage community leadership at every phase of the project.

Learn more about one of our amazing Community Advisory Board members here.
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