eLab Accelerator 2017

Sun Shares

Project Objective

This project aims to scale Sun Shares, a model to bring solar to low- and moderate-income wage-earning employees through employer benefits programs. VEIC seeks assistance in adapting a model to other regions in the US, and to increase solar adoption for those who don't have access. The team will be investigating capital considerations, national employer sectors, and jurisdictional differences for a future business model.

Team Members

  • David Barash, Director, New Business Ventures, VEIC

  • David Hill, Director, Distributed Resources, VEIC

  • Odette Mucha, Technology Manager, Sunshot Initiative, DOE

Project Description

Sun Shares LLC, a new social enterprise of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), works with employers to provide their employees with easy access to solar energy—bringing benefits to employers and all levels of employees, particularly low- to moderate-income (LMI) wage earners. Capitalizing on the employer-employee benefit administration structure, Sun Shares helps overcome logistical, cost, credit, and siting barriers faced by renters and homeowners.

As solar energy continues to grow rapidly for middle- to higher-income homeowners, the United States needs self-sustaining, durable business models that ensure all people have access to clean, affordable energy. For 31 years, the non-profit VEIC has been creating clean energy solutions—and educating consumers about ways to increase the economic and environmental benefits of energy use. Sun Shares, with its first installation under way, is now ready to expand.

Progress Made to Date (pre-Accelerator)

Sun Shares began in 2014 and is finalizing legal agreements with its first project host site, investment partner, and solar energy performance contractor. The evolution has involved course corrections for how a mission-based nonprofit can best work with partners who have commercial perspectives / priorities. The first project, based in Vermont, will be on line and providing credits to members before August. Additionally, two more projects in Vermont are in the works and will be under agreement by June 2018 and on line and proving credits by December 2018.