Introducing the GivePower Foundation

SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive (far left), and CRO and Give Power Foundation President Hayes Barnard (far right), work with the team in Nicaragua on Give Power’s maiden project.

This week we’re launching the GivePower Foundation, our non-profit foundation dedicated to making clean energy affordable and accessible to those who need it most.

And it’s you, our customers, who are making it happen.

Here’s the challenge: 291 million children attend schools without electricity. To meet their potential, and to empower them to overcome greater obstacles than many of us in the United States can comprehend, these children need well-lit rooms in which to learn. At the same time they don’t need more fossil fuels.

So here’s what our customers are doing: For every megawatt of residential solar power that our customers ask us to install in 2014, SolarCity will donate a solar power system and battery combination to a school that has no access to electricity. This means that on average, for every 160 customers that go solar with SolarCity, another school will receive the gift of light. Your solar panels will power your home and power a school in places like Haiti, Mali, Malawi and Nepal.

SolarCity is partnering with buildOn to implement these projects on the ground. buildOn is a nonprofit organization that builds schools in developing countries while also running afterschool service programs in America’s toughest inner-cities. We’re psyched to be working alongside them on so many projects to come.

When CEO Lyndon Rive and CRO Hayes Barnard led a SolarCity team to a village in Nicaragua to install the Give Power Foundation’s maiden project with buildOn, they found a community inhibited from realizing its full potential due to lack of basic electricity.

The team in Nicaragua plans out the install.

“A school like this just will never get electricity unless you have local generation,” said Rive. “It needs to change. We need to create the electricity at the place where it’s needed. We can skip the legacy infrastructure and build out the new infrastructure the smarter, better way.”

Hayes Barnard, SolarCity’s Chief Revenue Officer and President of the GivePower Foundation, noted how in the world’s smallest and most remote towns, schools often function as centers of their communities: “A lot of the seniors want education. A lot of the elders within the organization want to get educated. And it also is a nice facility in the evenings for them to gather and celebrate. And that’s why I think bringing electricity to some of these parts of the world that never had it before is so exciting and meaningful.”

SolarCity is partnering with buildOn to implement these projects on the ground. buildOn is a nonprofit organization that builds schools in developing countries while also running afterschool service programs in America’s toughest inner-cities. They work closely with community members on developing and maintaining each project, ensuring that those who are meant to benefit from the schools have a major role in how it is built and used. SolarCity is thrilled to partner with buildOn to help fill that need and contribute to the social and environmental sustainability of these projects.

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