Solar Companies Overcome Challenges to Contribute to Community Relief Efforts (Part 1)
Monday, May 11 2020
Even as the solar industry is on track to shed tens of thousands of workers as a result of the coronavirus, the solar industry is determined to be part of our nation’s recovery.
Despite operational and financial challenges, several solar companies are stepping up to contribute to a variety of global relief efforts, citing their ongoing commitment to the communities they serve.
Here are a few of their stories.
Companies Pledge Over $500,000 to Support Frontline Response Efforts in Rural Communities
EDP Renewables North America (EDPR NA), a global utility-scale solar and wind developer, donated $300,000 to global relief efforts. Most of this money is going to the United States and will serve more than 50 communities in 20 states. The funds will support local food banks and organizations from Arkansas to Wisconsin, helping to provide economic security for families affected by COVID-19.
EDP Renewables previously donated $10,000 to Virginia's Remington Volunteer Fire Department in 2019.
“EDP Renewables’ long-term presence and strong relationships in the rural communities hosting our projects gives us a unique opportunity to aid the most-effective organizations in areas that are often the last to get the resources and support they need,” said Miguel Prado, EDPR NA CEO.
In addition, EDPR NA is providing training for its employees to create face masks they can donate, and launching an employee matching gift campaign at its corporate offices.
Similarly, RWE Renewables, a utility-scale project developer, committed $250,000 to over 45 U.S. organizations in 11 states that are helping rural communities. The funds will support first responders, food banks, social services for senior citizens and food assistance programs affiliated with local schools.
"We chose to focus on food banks and those organizations providing broad support for families who may need additional help, particularly those in mostly rural communities where our sites are located," said Silvia Ortin, chief operating officer for onshore wind and solar PV.
"The support of our local communities is of vital importance for our projects to operate successfully, and we hope these donations will in turn help support those communities," she continued.
Residential Installer Donates Personal Protective Equipment to University of Utah
As U.S. hospitals scramble for life-saving supplies, Vivint Solar, a large residential solar company based in Utah, recently donated over 1,500 N95 masks to the doctors and staff at the University of Utah Health department. The company ordered masks for its solar installers several weeks before the first cases arrived in Utah. But when federal authorities later clarified its guidelines on masks, the company decided to donate these critical lifesaving masks to healthcare workers that need it most.
Mounting Provider Keeps Tradition and Supports Local Restaurants
PanelClaw, a mounting system manufacturer, is also working to support its local community. Before the COVID-19 crisis, the company hosted a weekly lunch for its workers and catered it from local restaurants. Even though all PanelClaw staff members are working remotely, the company is still purchasing gift cards to the restaurants they frequent to help these businesses stay afloat during these tough times. The company is also buying gift cards for groceries for its team members in need.
“This crisis has hit a broad spectrum of our country and the solar sector is no different. Despite these challenges, we feel it is important for us to be productive members of local communities,” says PanelClaw CEO Costa Nicolaou.
Installer Rolls Out New Program and Priorities
Residential solar installer Suntuity Solar rolled out the Suntuity Pledge, a new initiative that will use the company’s vans and logistics services to aid community response efforts in New Jersey, Maryland and Florida. This includes a meal and grocery delivery service that will benefit kids and older Americans, call center services to help triage incoming and outgoing calls for local hotlines, and logistic services for organizations participating in response efforts. In addition, Suntuity Solar is also offering subsidized payments for its solar + storage customers affected by the coronavirus.
Suntuity CEO Dan Javan encouraged his colleagues to consider ways they can contribute their resources.
“What we do both as individuals and an organization in such situations, differentiates us from the rest. This is who we are…It will take all of us working together as one big community to eradicate this pandemic.”
This unprecedented crisis has taken a toll on all aspects of American life. SEIA thanks all of the companies that have selflessly donated their time, resources and money to help our communities in need. Every act of kindness, no matter the size, brings us one step closer to emerging from this pandemic stronger and more resilient than ever.
Has your organization made donations to help support COVID-19 relief efforts? SEIA wants to track and catalogue these stories to demonstrate to policymakers that the solar industry is part of the solution. Fill out our solar donation form now.