A letter from Solstice Co-Founders Steph Speirs and Sandhya Murali
As co-founders of Solstice, we write with big news. Today, Solstice begins a new chapter as part of MyPower, an affiliate of Mitsui, a global investment leader with a vision to invest in the future of energy. Reflecting on this announcement, it feels right to include you, our community, in a moment of awe and gratitude.
Until very recently, scientists believed trees were individualistic organisms. But then ecologists made a discovery that trees form intricate networks of reciprocity, sharing information and resources with each other. The assumption was turned on its head: What we see as a group of individual trees is actually a super-organism linked together in a vast exchange of nutrients and information. An age-old tree with stronger resource capacity helps new seedlings grow. By sharing this infrastructure, a forest helps maintain a powerful yet delicate ecosystem.
Solstice has always been a team built on the power of this kind of interconnection. This wild idea–that clean energy should and can be made readily available to everyone–becomes reality only with community-wide buy-in, one neighborhood at a time. We grow by creating advocates for equitable energy who share their passion with the people around them.
The goal to bring clean energy to every member of every community, regardless of income or any other factor, has driven us since the beginning. It’s why we started this work in 2014 as a nonprofit. It’s why, when we identified the need for comprehensive community solar management software, we spun out a company that built this tech. It’s why we built the EnergyScore, a qualifying algorithm for clean energy projects that’s more inclusive of low- and moderate-income households than traditional credit scores. (Solstice Initiative, the nonprofit led by Executive Director Yesenia Rivera, will continue their invaluable work to empower under-resourced communities to build their own clean energy projects, and we will continue to support them as Board members. They will announce an exciting new brand in the months to come).
Over the course of our journey, we’ve met so many wonderful people: young families, retirees, single parents, social service nonprofits, pastors, small business owners, housing and hospitality providers, town and county-level officers, teachers, policymakers, environmentalists, and more. We’ve worked through pizza chains, art studios, organic farms, employers, municipalities, and hundreds of organizations eager to help their community. As a result, we’ve grown to connect thousands of subscribers to local, renewable energy.
We also started Solstice to build a company that looked and did things differently than a typical energy company. After all, addressing the climate crisis requires transformation, not business as usual. We grew revenue while simultaneously investing in solutions for low-income customers. Rather than treat customers transactionally, we set out to take care of them as if we would be in their lives for the next 20 years. We know Solstice would not be here without the dedication of our hardworking team, so we encouraged employees to take six weeks paid time off each year to savor moments with loved ones and rest.
Every new solar project comes to life because of relationships between human beings choosing to make things better. We’ve always known we cannot achieve our goals alone, and a rapidly warming climate calls for urgent partnerships to accelerate our clean energy economy. To make good on our vision for a healthier, more equitable planet, we need all hands on deck with like-minded partners.
Today, we’re proud to become part of a highly respected company prioritizing sustainable development and clean energy infrastructure.
Mitsui’s mission is to build brighter futures, everywhere, and to realize a better tomorrow for Earth and for people around the world. As one of Mitsui’s energy and sustainability solution investment arms, MyPower is at the core of a network of companies in America. Mitsui’s subsidiary companies form a diverse network across industries, a collection of relationships that helps them thrive and maintain their impact.
Joining MyPower gives Solstice the infrastructure to move faster in democratizing the transition to clean energy and averting irreversible climate damage. We must move urgently to advance environmental justice for a global ecosystem of energy users. Just like the natural reciprocity of a forest, we will now have access to resources that will allow Solstice—and the planet—to thrive sustainably.
We’re keeping our mission and services the same as ever. As a MyPower company, Solstice can mobilize more solar subscribers, put clean power into more communities than ever before, and offer guaranteed savings in the process. We can also invest in new products and services that put the energy needs of households and communities first. We can’t wait. There’s lots of work yet to be done.
“Gratitude” has been a core company value since day one. Thank you to our incredible teammates, who encounter new challenges in an archaic electricity system with passion and persistence. Thank you to our earliest advisors and investors who believed in our mission when it was just an idea, and never doubted the capacity of two non-technical, first-time entrepreneur, women-of-color founders. Thank you to our partners and customers, who are dedicated pioneers in the new energy economy.
Thank you for your trust, and for being a part of this energy movement.
From where we’re standing, the future looks brighter than ever!