Think Global, Act Local: Sunwealth and the UN Sustainable Development Goals
by Cody Eaton
It’s easy to get discouraged. Whenever we flip through the news we witness manifestations of inequity and injustice, climate change and economic struggle. The national or global scale of the forces driving these issues are daunting, and at times we feel helpless to alter that course of action. But we should never let the inability to change everything prevent us from changing something.
That ethos has been built into our business model since day one. To contextualize Sunwealth’s impact, we looked at the UN Sustainable Development Goals, seventeen global challenges that the nations of the world aim to address by 2030. At Sunwealth, we are proudly contributing towards five goals. How? Allow us to explain:
GOAL 7: AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY
Sunwealth develops, owns, and operates solar installations across a diverse range of communities and building types, partnering with schools, churches, municipalities, businesses and non-profits to make the benefits of solar energy available to all. These partners frequently get overlooked by traditional financiers, but Sunwealth has made it a core mission to provide financing to socially minded partners that might otherwise be excluded. Energy savings help these organizations’ bottom line, all while reducing their carbon footprint. By taking advantage of the immense potential found on rooftops, parking lots, and other commercial scale properties across the United States, Sunwealth not only pushes forward the share of renewable energy in the total consumption mix, but ensures that the benefits accrue to all.
GOAL 8: DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
While globalization has had major economic benefits for the developing world, blue collar workers in the U.S. have suffered serious losses. Fortunately, the solar industry’s growth in recent years has spurred demand for technical positions and skilled labor. This growing market presents a great opportunity for those hurt by factory closings or layoffs, for similar skillsets can be adapted relatively easily through job training programs. Sunwealth maintains strong relationships with local installers across all communities we serve, focusing economic impact locally and promoting the clean energy economy.
GOAL 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
In a nation of aging infrastructure with growing vulnerability to climate-related disasters, developing decentralized sources of energy is imperative. With durable solar arrays and long-term power purchase agreements, we provide reliable energy that can sustain economic growth without the volatility found in other energy sources. As we upgrade and replace infrastructure we work to ensure that our power purchasers receive clean energy at an affordable rate, enabling greater resource efficiency and notable energy savings.
GOAL 11: SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES
Urban environments require smaller solar projects, which have been historically hard to finance. Sunwealth’s Solar Impact Fund changes this, making it possible to finance and install distributed energy systems that reduce dependence on far-afield power plants. We are installing solar on top of office buildings, non-profits, house of worship, schools and municipal buildings – making it possible for cities to produce power directly at the point of consumption.
GOAL 12: RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
Despite the Trump Administration’s decision to drop out of the Paris Climate Accords, many American businesses have continued to strive towards the landmark goals. Sunwealth works with businesses to maximize the potential of their commercial properties, providing a no-cost solution to incorporate solar installations into their properties. Each solar system delivers notable energy savings, while also helping the business achieve ESG goals that are becoming increasingly important to employees and investors.
While our role in addressing these challenges may appear small in the grand scheme of things, we know the impact is felt within the communities we serve. That knowledge drives us to keep doing what we’re doing, and we’re not slowing down anytime soon.