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1% Commitment - Our Collective 2023 Impact

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Thanks to OpenSolar’s co-founders Andrew birch and Adam Pryor, my for-profit and non-profit working lives have merged, and now feel completely and perfectly aligned.

In 2023, with the 1% annual revenue commitment of OpenSolar and its partnership with Empowered by Light, we’ve been able to help two communities in Zambia go from poverty and subsistence farming to commercial farming operations with more food available to the people there, and profits from selling excess produce to send children to school.  Lives will also be saved by avoiding encounters with dangerous wildlife there.

It’s fantastic when the passions of different groups of people converge, with motivations and incentives aligned and everyone wanting the same outcome.  In this case, you have a community willing to embrace and use a new technology. You have a mission-driven technology platform in OpenSolar that wants to see solar adoption everywhere, across rich and developing countries.  You have an incredible NGO in Empowered by Light, with operations designed to ensure that people can be lifted out of energy poverty.  You have a global community of solar installers whose success on the OpenSolar platform permits us to do this kind of work.  And you have other groups, like the LinkedIn Alumni to which I belong, who see the bigger picture and the imperative to decarbonize our planet, and have so generously donated this giving season.  It’s truly a moment of inspiration and hope for me.

This year has been tough.  Despite the fact that solar has grown massively around the world, there have continued to be huge disruptions up and down the supply chain.  Here in the states, Gavin Newsom and his pals at the California Public Utilities Commission used NEM 3.0 to gut the state’s rooftop solar market (which represented 50% of the overall US market), which in turn caused the loss of at least 17,000 solar jobs here.

But the movement continues.  Higher grid energy prices continue to be foisted on consumers around the world, solar panel prices are down to the low $0.20’s / watt, and despite the corruption of COP 28, people continue to realize in ever bigger numbers that generating and storing their own energy, and propelling themselves from A to B with that energy is not only the way to go, but is way cheaper than the alternative, especially as interest rates level off and start to fall in 2024.

Our collective desires for peace, prosperity, a healthy planet and the greater good continue to converge, and although there are huge challenges in the world as we leave 2023 behind, we are going slowly but surely in the right direction.  I want to thank all Openers, our unstoppable community of solar professionals, the team at Empowered by Light and its donors, and so many of you who have been supportive of this vision in 2023.  My family and I send you love and light for 2024.  The future is bright.

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