As we’ve written in the past, the Solstice team cares deeply about supporting local communities and helping their economies thrive.
We call both New York and Massachusetts home–we couldn’t be effective in our mission of making affordable solar accessible for every American if we focused only on one area–but we choose to partner with local solar developers and organizations to make these projects happen, and we make sure that our farms provide real, direct support to their local communities.
Solstice Builds Strong Community Ties
We take the time to build relationships with the communities where we operate, so we can make sure that our projects truly meet their needs. In recent months, we’ve partnered with Callicoon, NY solar developer Delaware River Solar (DRS), helping them to fill their solar gardens with local households.
DRS was established by Callicoon-area farmer Rich Winter, and its solar gardens are planned for locations around Upstate New York. Our newest project with them is as local as it gets: it was built on Rich’s own property and will serve households in the surrounding area.
We also put the time in to build relationships with community-based organizations. In Chemung County, the site of another DRS project, we formed partnerships with the Environmental Management Council (EMC) and Community Arts of Elmira, and co-hosted events with Mothers Out Front, Solarize Chemung, and Catholic Charities of Chemung. Talking with folks at these events and understanding the work of these amazing local organizations helps us to better appreciate and serve the communities that help make community solar gardens happen.
Solstice team members Taro and Sean visit the DRS solar garden in Lowman, Chemung, NY.
Community Solar Brings Tangible, Local Benefits
These relationships are vitally important to us. At the same time, though, we do our best to maximize the material benefits that solar gardens bring to their communities. When we partner with communities, we make sure that the economic benefits of community solar are flowing right back into the local economy.
On top of the direct savings that community solar provides to the households that subscribe, we make sure that some of the revenue goes to the organizations that help us to raise awareness. For instance, for every three people who subscribed after joining us for our Elmira event with EMC, we paid for a local child to go to summer camp and learn about their local environment.
The Community Arts of Elmira headquarters.
Solar gardens also bring benefits to their broader communities. They generate clean, renewable energy and good, local jobs. Moreover, they bring revenues to the town, county, and local school district, and to the owners of the land where the projects are sited – providing a second stream of revenue to farmers who have had to deal with shrinking and disappearing margins in recent years.
Here’s one reason we love community solar: it will always be a local affair. Unlike ESCOs and third party providers, you can only sign up for a community solar garden if it’s local to your utility zone. And as we’ve seen over our years of working on these projects, it’s local communities that make these projects happen. By helping them organize to bring solar to their town, Solstice provides support for these efforts and brings the benefits of solar energy to more Americans.
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