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Fueling the Future: How YOU Contributed to Communities and Climate in 2023

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Fueling the Future: How YOU Contributed to Communities and Climate in 2023

December 20, 2023

Picture this: a world where neighborhoods come together not just for barbecues, but to harness the sun’s power and save some serious cash on energy bills.

We think that world isn’t terribly far away, and this past year sure brought us a heck of a lot closer! Let’s take a ride down memory lane and celebrate the incredible journey of Solstice through 2023 — a year bursting with energy, achievements, and some serious community solar moves, all thanks to our subscribers, community partners, and project developers, who are working together to have a massive impact on our clean energy future.

 

Here’s what we were up to all year and a sneak peek into an even sunnier 2024.

Table of Contents

49 New Organizations Championed Community Solar

In the past year, Solstice has witnessed a lot of growth for communities, forging alliances with 49 new organizations dedicated to advancing community solar initiatives for their residents and members. These partnerships have played a huge role in expanding our mission to democratize renewable energy access. By teaming up with like-minded friends, we’re not only reaching more people but also spreading the benefits of community solar to diverse communities across the nation. These new community partners secured an additional $46k+ for their organizations, adding to the over $300k Solstice has given back to the communities we serve over the years. 

Shoutout to the organizations, municipalities, and nonprofits that chose to bring solar to their communities this year – you’re truly bringing the good to your neighborhood. Here are a few of the inspiring words we’ve recently received:

  •  “The collaboration between Solstice and The Housing Authority of Cook County to expand renewable energy access is a testament to the positive change that can be achieved when organizations come together with a shared mission. By providing affordable solar energy options to low- to moderate-income households, we are not only reducing energy burdens but also contributing to a more sustainable future.”
    • Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners
  • “It’s a win-win-win situation. It’s good for the environment, and good for residents because they get a 10% reduction in their energy bill, and a sign on bonus.” 
    • Josh Lipsman, The Village of Athens, Trustee Member
  • “I’m excited about benefiting from solar and making a difference with Solstice. As a long-time resident and journalist who has been covering consumer technology and innovation for many years, when I learned about the opportunity presented by Solstice and the new community solar farm, I asked a lot of questions… and when I was through I couldn’t wait to become a part of it! This makes it so easy for homeowners and renters to take advantage of green, sustainable energy with no investment needed – and I’ll be saving money on energy costs.”
    • Fred Fishkin, Techstination Founder and Ocean County NJ Resident
  • “Working with Solstice as the approved vendor for the Illinois Solar for All: Community Solar program helps the Village save its residents money and brings state dollars to Park Forest to help us achieve our greenhouse gas reduction goals. It’s a win for us all!”
    • Carrie Malfeo, Sustainability Coordinator of the Village of Park Forest

Our partners aren’t just businesses or sales outlets; they’re essential to our goal of bringing clean renewable energy to more people than ever, because they know their community. They know the impact that one person can have. We’ve worked with incredible organizations that have used their Solstice-contributed funds to make huge strides in their community – like adding solar-powered street lights, building technology centers for disabled community members, and even funding food drives for residents in need. It’s been an amazing year to watch communities come together not just for sustainability, but to build each other up. 

Let’s talk numbers. 

Around the World in 80 Days 4,000 Times

It’s easy to look at the energy produced by your share of a community solar farm as a single customer and wonder “Is this really making a difference?” and we’re here to tell you: your efforts in 2023 really have made a difference for the environment and for your wallets. Participating households and businesses collectively have saved a total of $882,026 on energy costs just this year – and that number will grow over the lifetime of a project! That’s money right back into your pocket. A big win in our humble opinion! Over the years, we’ve contributed a wide variety of partners – from non-profits, to fund municipality sustainability efforts, to our ambassadors, and more. 

Those savings come from a lot of kWh of solar production and means that just this year, our subscribers saved an estimated 31,000 tons of carbon emissions—a huge win for the environment. That’s the equivalent of not driving more than 100,000,000 miles, or circling the globe 4,000 times in a gas-powered vehicle! This is seriously a testament to how significant of an impact people can make just by making greener choices as an individual.

By giving people access to affordable clean energy, we’re empowering individuals to take charge of their energy use, promoting environmental responsibility through community solar and showing that one individual’s contributions are significant when added to the swath of customers across the U.S.


Welcoming New States to the Solstice Family

In 2023, Solstice marked a significant milestone by expanding its operations into New Mexico and New Jersey, reaffirming our dedication to democratizing clean energy access across diverse communities.

New Mexico Community Solar 

In New Mexico, Solstice proudly earned the right to enroll subscribers for a huge share of New Mexico’s brand new community solar program, solidifying our role as a premier community solar provider in the state. This responsibility is a testament to our community-first approach, and we’re eager to deliver on our promises. Our recent pre-enrollment launch surpassed our expectations. We’ve already gotten tons of pre-enrollments, showing just what we expected: New Mexicans are clamoring for affordable clean energy!

Steph Speirs, Co-Founder and CEO of Solstice, has helped educate New Mexico residents about this new program through media and webinars. She emphasized the significance of maintaining integrity and trust amidst prevalent solar mishaps nationwide. Steph commented, “Community solar presents an incredible opportunity to bring New Mexicans into the clean energy transition, but only if we implement the program with integrity and transparency in the months ahead.”

Solstice is proud to be working alongside local New Mexican leaders and organizations to commence campaigns that emphasize the distinction between community solar and rooftop solar. “In my first six months at the Santa Fe Green Chamber, we helped to introduce a community solar bill in the New Mexico Legislature,” said Glenn Schiffbauer, executive director for the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce. “That was 10 years ago, so to see community solar finally coming to reality here is incredibly gratifying and I am anxiously awaiting to see the first project that will serve citizens who never thought they could access clean, renewable energy. I understand, and expect, the fits and starts of something that is new here. That said, Green Chamber is thrilled to be partnering with Solstice who is already creating a success record here as they have done elsewhere.”

Although official community partnerships are yet to be announced, we’ve received substantial backing from grassroots organizations, local political leaders, and nonprofits. Our foundation is built on transparency, aiming to instill hope and trust among residents. Collaborating closely with these entities, we are dedicated to providing accessible and transparent community solar solutions to households and businesses across New Mexico and ensuring that education comes first.

New Jersey Community Solar

Our entry into New Jersey represented a transformative shift toward environmental stewardship. The development site, previously decimated by pollution, found a new purpose through community solar—a beacon of hope for the community impacted by environmental harm. By choosing community solar for this land, leaders are not only ensuring clean energy benefits but also revitalizing and rejuvenating the affected community.

Our first New Jersey community solar project has now come online, marking the beginning of actual savings for our customers. With these farms operational as of last month, customers can expect to see noticeable reductions of up to 21% on their upcoming electricity bills!

In both New Mexico and New Jersey, Solstice is pioneering tailored community solar solutions that cater to the unique needs of these states’ residents. These initiatives underscore our commitment to creating a more sustainable and inclusive future through accessible, innovative, and community-driven solar benefits.

Your Happiness Matters: Here’s How We Elevated Customer Satisfaction and Service Excellence: 

Our commitment to delighting our subscribers has led to a 10% increase in customer satisfaction. We’re incredibly proud that our dedication to ensuring customer needs come first is resulting in happier Solsticers around the country. 

To enhance our subscriber experience, we introduced a bilingual customer success team. They’re here to assist in subscribers’ preferred language, ensuring smooth communication and support. We revamped our website and content to be accessible in multiple languages, and added even more education to our arsenal. Our aim is to provide clear and easy-to-understand information about our solar solutions, catering to everyone’s needs.

When you Google us, you might notice more customer testimonials popping up! These stories are from amazing individuals sharing their experiences and showcasing the real impact of Solstice in their lives. 

And here’s the cherry on top: our Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) rating jumped from 8.4 to an impressive 9.0! Customer feedback and our team’s dedication have been instrumental in this improvement. We see satisfying customers as our absolute top prerogative, and will continue to invest further in our customer experience moving forward.

Gear Up for 2024: Solstice’s Odyssey into Innovation, Communities, and Advocacy

As we set our sights on 2024, Solstice is primed to serve more customers, and to serve each of them more effectively.. Our roadmap for the upcoming year encompasses several key focus areas:

Geographical Expansion

We’ll further broaden our reach, ensuring equitable access to community solar options in additional states and communities, fostering widespread adoption of clean energy solutions and ensuring our development partners have better subscriber acquisition and management options in every state in which they operate. 

Tech & Product Advancements

In 2024, Solstice will continue to embrace innovation. We’re gearing up to make substantial investments in our software platform. This upgrade will enhance the experience for subscribers, empowering them to easily manage their benefits. At the same time, it will streamline operations for solar developers, enabling smoother portfolio management. Additionally, our partners will benefit from improved capabilities to engage with customers and provide detailed impact reports.

These advancements, coupled with increased funding for EnergyScore to broaden access to clean energy, along with the exploration of fresh community benefits prospects, will revolutionize how our audience engages with clean energy. Our goal is to simplify and add deeper significance to their participation in the clean energy landscape. Be on the lookout for new workforce development incentives, EnergyScore updates, and a new product announcement!

Community Engagement

Our commitment to deepening engagement with local communities remains unwavering. By empowering communities with knowledge and tools to embrace clean energy practices, we aim to foster active participation in the community solar movement. We’re even piloting new ways for residents and nonprofit organizations to champion community solar that we cannot wait to share with you all.

Advocacy and Education

Solstice remains dedicated to advocating for policies that support community solar adoption. Educating the public about the myriad benefits of solar power, including inclusivity, sustainability, and economic advantages, remains a top priority. Our dedicated policy team will stay on top of all things community solar, and make sure our developers, community partners, and customers know what to expect.

2023 has been a testament to our resilience, growth, and commitment to driving positive change through community solar. As we stand on the threshold of 2024, Solstice is prepared to continue its transformative journey, making strides toward a brighter, more sustainable future for all – and we’re thankful to have you along for the ride.

 

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