Our Story

Our Story

We hope you enjoy our new brand developed by a team of teen designers at Artists for Humanity, a Boston-based non-profit which employs teens in art and design. While our name has changed, our mission remains in the same vein. Our organization and Solstice Power Technologies will always share a culture that is rooted in equity, and a focus on income-eligible communities. We’re looking forward to continuing our work to co-design a just transition that serves all communities.

Our Story

Energy Allies formerly known as Solstice Initiative, is a nonprofit led by women of color. In 2014, we were founded by Steph Speirs and Sandhya Murali on the belief that every household should be able to access affordable clean energy. Since our founding, our board seats a majority of women of color, qualifying Solstice Initiative as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). In 2022 and beyond, our Executive Director, Yesenia Rivera, leads us in centering climate-impacted communities through clean energy projects, policy, and education.

Our goal is to co-design democratized clean energy systems that build wealth in climate-impacted communities via a decentralized energy grid. One strategy we deploy is our collective group of paid community members and organization representatives, or Community Advisory Board (CAB), who identify priorities and vote on local energy solutions. CAB members are paid for their leadership in Solstice Initiative project design, development, and implementation. We convened our first CAB in Boston, MA, to make sure that our community-led solar projects are led by and for community members. Our strategic partnerships have led our Boston CAB to form into the Boston Community Solar Cooperative today. In Buffalo, NY, Solstice Initiative is partnering with the non-profit PUSH Buffalo to form a CAB and co-design an energy project that builds intergenerational wealth for climate-impacted communities.  We are facilitating partnerships with community members, local organizations, and property owners to build coalitions that enhance access to clean energy. Together, we site clean energy projects and co-design programs for community members to democratize the energy system. 

Since our founding, Solstice Initiative has enhanced research and innovation in low to moderate income community solar access with EnergyScore, developed in partnership with The Department of Energy and data scientists at MIT and Stanford and published in the National Bureau of Economic Review. In our research, we found that the EnergyScore is more accurate than traditional credit scores at predicting defaults and more inclusive of low-to-moderate income households. In Solstice Initiative’s Research with the Department of Energy (DoE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), our findings demonstrate the importance of policy to push developers to include all income levels equitably and co-design programs with communities. That’s why Solstice Initiative works to break patterns established by government and utility neglect dating to historic redlining by co-designing a just transition that serves all communities

Our Mission

We center climate-impacted communities through clean energy projects, policy advocacy, and education.

Our Vision

We're co-designing a just energy transition that serves all communities

Racist, discriminatory, and prejudicial government and policies have created a landscape of racial disparities perpetuated to this day. These policies have led directly to the social, economic, climate, and health burdens felt in climate-impacted communities.

While Federal and State governments have made commitments to achieving net-zero emissions in the coming decades, without a community-led energy justice movement, we are at risk of electrifying our energy system using methods that will further perpetuate a cycle of high energy burdens for climate-impacted communities.

As a direct example, despite rapid electrification in Massachusetts over the last decade, access to clean energy and related programming is far from equitable. We have repeatedly seen infrastructure projects with negative externalities built without community input and a general lack of clean energy built to benefit climate-impacted communities. Furthermore, decades of discriminatory and predatory practices have dissuaded many from finding agency in advocating for a better system, and programs designed to address equitable access to clean energy have not been administered effectively. 
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