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Social Entrepreneur

327 EpisodesProduced by Tony LoydWebsite

Social Entrepreneur exists at the intersection of profit and purpose. We tell positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions.


128, Steph Speirs and Steve Moilanen, Solstice | Solar for All

Solstice provides access to clean, affordable solar energy for those who have been locked out of the solar market.

Today’s conversation with Steph Speirs and Steve Moilanen of Solstice is the fifth in a series on solar power and clean energy around the world. We spoke with Sam Goldman of d.light, a pioneer in solar energy for the developing world. We also spoke with Allison Archambault of EarthSpark International. They provide pre-pay electricity through a mini-grid in Haiti. We spoke to Harrison Leaf of who helps mini-grid operators utilize “the internet of things,” wireless connectivity and a platform, primarily in Africa. We heard from Clementine Chambon, Amit Saraogi of Oorja. They are working on rural electrification in India utilizing a hybrid solar and biomass system. Today, we speak with Steph and Steve about why Americans are locked out of inexpensive solar energy and what it is that they are doing about that.

How big is the problem? Almost 90 million American households cannot access solar power. Some are renters. Others live on low incomes. Still more live in homes that do not have sufficient direct sunlight. Whatever the reason, millions of households cannot access clear, affordable solar energy…until now.

Solstice is transforming the market, using community shared solar. Through Solstice, anyone can subscribe to a solar garden, saving money and the environment at the same time.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Steph Speirs and Steve Moilanen

“Solar is cheap enough that everyone can save money using it.” Steph Speirs

“Sixteen states that allow for community solar, but the Department of Energy thinks it’s going to be a $16 billion industry by 2020.” Steph Speirs

“One of the benefits of community solar is how easy it is.” Steve Moilanen

“Think of it like a community garden, but for clean energy.” Steve Moilanen

“The number one reason why anyone signs up for solar is because they have a friend or neighbor that went solar.” Steph Speirs

“Solar is contagious in personal networks.” Steph Speirs

“We’re creating viral communities around community solar.” Steph Speirs

“You can switch to clean energy and save money on your electricity bill from day one, at no up front cost.” Steph Speirs

“I realized I didn’t have to be halfway across the world to work on energy equity issues.” Steph Speirs

“In America, the people who need solar savings the most are currently the least likely to get it.” Steph Speirs

“We’re never going to mitigate climate change unless we get more people access to clean energy.” Steph Speirs

“The set of thing that you are expected to be competent at as a first-time entrepreneur, is daunting.” Steve Moilanen

“We probably got rejected from twenty grant proposals before we got our first influx of money through the Echoing Green fellowship.” Steph Speirs

“Entrepreneurs don’t have good days and bad days. They have good hours and bad hours.” Steph Speirs

“We want to switch 50,000 households to solar by 2020.” Steph Speirs

“In starting something, make sure you’re picking a battle that’s worth fighting.” Steve Moilanen

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

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