SolarCity’s GivePower Foundation Provides Light to 500 Schools in the Developing World

GivePower Africa
SolarCity photovoltaic designer Alex Webster explains solar energy to students at Kulumbeni Primary School in Matate, Kenya.

GivePower Foundation—a charitable non-profit organization that addresses energy poverty by providing solar-powered lighting to schools in the developing world—is expanding. Through a $500,000 donation from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, GivePower Foundation now plans to provide light to an additional 1,000 schools, totaling more than 1,500 schools by the end of 2015.

In 2014, GivePower Foundation donated solar powered lighting to 511 schools in Africa andCentral America, exceeding its first year goal to provide light to a school in a developing country for each megawatt of solar power it installs in the United States.  The GivePower Foundation, established with funding that came entirely from SolarCity in 2014, will begin to accept public donations in 2015.

GivePower Foundation donates solar panels, batteries and lighting to schools to extend classroom hours in the early morning and evening, and create a night time gathering place in communities that often lack basic access to electricity. The solar panels can also power cell phones and other small electronic devices throughout the day. This donation is part of Bank of America’s commitment to environmental philanthropy focused on carbon emission reductions, access to clean water and research and innovation. The $500,000grant will support hundreds of school lighting projects as well as solar training, research and development in off-grid communities.

GivePower Africa 2

GivePower Foundation installs a solar energy system at Ngomeni Primary School in Ngomeni, Kenya.

“We are extremely grateful for Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s generous donation to GivePower,” said Hayes Barnard, SolarCity’s Chief Revenue Officer and GivePower Foundation President. “With this commitment, we are able to expand our program, bringing light to even more schools and communities in need.”

This year’s GivePower Foundation projects will bring light to remote villages in Mali, Nicaragua, Kenya, Haiti, Uganda, Nigeria, Malawi,Nepal, and Ghana. As a 501(c)(3) public charity, the foundation is now accepting donations to help it bring light to even more schools and communities in need. Approximately 291 million children around the world attend primary schools without electricity, and 1.3 billion people around the world live without electricity.*

“Education is vital to empowering communities and forming tomorrow’s leaders, and we are excited to play a role in ensuring these schools have lighting for the first time,” said Anne Finucane, vice chairman and global chief strategy and marketing officer at Bank of America. “Our new partnership with GivePower Foundation is bringing clean energy to the developing world and is part of our broader strategy to help finance the transition to lower-carbon economies.”

For every megawatt of solar power SolarCity installs, the foundation makes a donation of light to one school in need. GivePower, and all those who support it, also helps provide resources to train local residents to install and maintain systems, and to gain and share knowledge with surrounding communities. Access to power allows schools to increase the number and type of classes they offer, attract and retain teachers, and access vast educational resources on the Internet.

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.

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