Thoreau Would be Proud

Sunwealth pilots its “Reverse Community Solar” concept with the Walden Woods Solar Project.

The Walden Woods Project is a Lincoln, MA – based non-profit whose mission is “to preserves the land, literature and legacy of Henry David Thoreau to foster an ethic of environmental stewardship and social responsibility”.

In preserving that legacy, Walden Woods wanted to power its headquarters with renewable energy. But this admirable organization encountered a problem: the building location – and the land surrounding it – could not accommodate an on-site renewable power system.

Enter Sunwealth, who piloted its “reverse community solar” concept to deliver renewable energy to Walden Woods.  You have likely heard of community solar – a community of participants benefit from the solar power generated from one solar installation (thanks to our friends at EnergySage for a good overview of community solar). Usually, participants in a community solar program are homeowners who cannot install solar on their own rooftops. They benefit by being part of a community who purchases their solar energy from a utility scale installation.  

Community Solar: one solar installation serving many socially-conscious energy consumers. Makes total sense.

What if many solar installations served one socially-conscious consumer? Welcome to Reverse Community Solar.

When we met the talented team at Walden Woods, we realized we had to quickly look beyond their borders to find the power necessary to meet their renewable energy goals. We also realized that some solar installations on residential rooftops in neighboring communities produce excess energy. This isn’t the case for every residential system, but certain systems have the characteristics – size, orientation, roof angle – to produce more power than the homeowner needs.

Sunwealth’s solution – pool together excess capacity from the rooftops of homeowners in neighboring communities and sell the virtual power to Walden Woods.  And with that, Sunwealth’s reverse community solar concept became reality.

By purchasing excess solar power from the rooftop solar installations of neighboring homes, Walden Woods saves $750 on their utility bills each year, and combats climate change by offsetting 25 metric tons of carbon per year.

The project was funded in part by Sunwealth’s investment community. Through a bond offering, Sunwealth raised capital from socially responsible investors who are receiving predictable quarterly distributions and a 7% return on their investment. Talk about investing with impact.

Sunwealth is honored to be working with the Walden Woods Project to support the legacy of Henry David Thoreau. As Sunwealth helps Walden Woods make its push to running on 100% renewable energy, we know Thoreau would be proud.

Jon Abe