Local Firm Selected by US Department of Energy to Participate in National Solar Competition

13 Jul 2017

Solar Micronics, Inc., an Illinois-based solar integrator firm has been selected to participate in the ‘Solar in Your Community Challenge’ program of the Department of Energy. As part of the Sunshot initiative, a $5 million budget has been set aside for this competition, aimed at expanding solar access to low-income communities.

Over the next year and a half, the Solar Micronics team will develop innovative project ideas to bring solar to residents of low income housing projects. “We are obviously very excited about the news”, said, Dr. Vish, President, and CEO of the firm. “We hope to make solar affordable for all, as we do not believe solar must be the rich man’s playground only; apart from developing business models for making solar affordable for low income residents, we also hope to teach them skills in solar installation and safety so that they can carve for themselves a path out of poverty via employment is this growing field”, said Dr. Vish, an electrical engineer with a Ph. D. from the University of Illinois, Champaign, IL.

In this project, to be located in Bessemer City, North Carolina, there are multitudes of local non-profit partners such as the city of Bessemer City, North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, Northwest Regional Housing Agency, Gaston county, and Carolina Council of Governments. The project will serve 175 low income residents, and once succeeded on a pilot scale, it will be replicated on other low income housing projects. In a recent national survey, Charlotte area was noted as among the top ten places in the country with an acute shortage of affordable housing options. Such shortage results in an increased percentage of their income being spent by the low income residents on rent payments. If utility costs are added to the already overburdened budget of the residents, this results in an undue strain on the budget. Thus, a successful pilot here will pave the way for a nationally implementable plan for low income residents.

Solar Micronics, and a number of other teams around the nation will compete for the grand prize of $1 million, to be awarded to the team with the most innovative model that is replicable. As part of the effort, Solar Micronics intends conducting classes on solar installation for low income residents. Solar Micronics is a solar engineering, procurement, and installation firm specializing in commercial, industrial, and non-profit solar installations. The company’s focus has been on the triple bottom line of People, planet and profit, which, when translated in this context means energy independence, environmental sustainability, and economic opportunity. Solar Micronics also intends to bring on board a Group Buying Plan to Bessemer City so that the residents of the city can share in the cost savings afforded by volume purchase of solar materials.

The Solar in Your Community Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, is a $5 million prize competition that aims to expand solar access to low and moderate income households; and state, local, and tribal governments; and non-profit organizations. More information about the Solar in Your Community Challenge can be found at http://www.solarinyourcommunity.org.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative is a national effort to drive down the cost of solar electricity and promote massive solar adoption. SunShot aims to make solar energy a low cost electricity source for all Americans through research and development efforts in collaboration with public and private organizations. More information can be found at energy.gov/sunshot.

Solar Micronics | http://www.solarmicronics.co