Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bringing Solar Energy to Developing Nations

C. Coimbra photo


A solar company... has found an innovative way to energize its employees while bringing electricity to schools in developing countries.

SolarCity created the GivePower Foundation to install a solar-powered lighting system in one school for every megawatt of energy the company deploys for clients. In 2014, GivePower installed systems in 511 schools in Africa and Central America.

And there’s a bonus in the plan for some top-performing SolarCity employees: They get to go on five-day service trips to install the equipment. The competition is stiff; SolarCity has more than 13,000 employees at 80 centers across the U.S., and only 10 to 15 are selected for each trip. There are about four trips per year.

"Employees really rally around meaning and impact," said Hayes Barnard, foundation president and chief revenue officer at SolarCity.

GivePower collaborates with other, established international aid groups, including BuildOn, that can provide translation services and help manage logistics.

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