At the beginning of this year, everything in the solar industry looked on the up. No one would have guessed that a market-crashing global pandemic would turn the year into one of the hardest solar workers have ever faced.
But we’re a strong community. Though we’ve suffered many hardships, we’ve also given back, helping others make it through the hurdles of the pandemic through volunteering, donations, and other efforts.
While we may be lamenting the economic distress caused by COVID-19, there’s little doubt that one of the groups suffering the most disadvantages during this time has been children. Not only have they had to deal with the instability that came from parents losing jobs and or homes, they’ve also had their education seriously disrupted. They’ve lost a lot of the support they need to succeed in their studies, have been isolated from friends, and have missed out on big childhood moments.
Children in already-disadvantaged communities have felt these pains the hardest. That’s why Swinerton Renewable Energy worked to give over 4,500 kids in the Navajo Nation their own distance learning kits, which include school supplies and solar-powered items like lanterns. Considering that almost 50% of all households in the Navajo Nation lack electricity, these kits have been profoundly helpful for native children struggling to learn at home.
Even in the face of significant losses, the solar industry has been incredibly generous throughout the pandemic. Several well-known companies have stepped up and donated funds and supplies to help their communities get through this rough period.
sPower donated half a million dollars to hospitals and other organizations within the communities they serve, spanning from California to Virginia. Nexamp donated $170,000 to local food banks through Feeding America, and also spent more than $75,000 to acquire personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers. On the east coast, Clearway Energy contributed more than $500,000 to small charities working to provide local relief, some supplying free meals to hungry households.
The solar industry didn’t just have goodwill toward the wider public – they’ve also tried to help their own. Solar marketing companies like Grid Freedom have been helping contractors keep their businesses running by hunting down qualified solar leads and delivering them straight into the contractors’ hands.
By providing especially affordable rates, Grid Freedom has given many struggling contractors an opportunity to save their cash reserves to get them through the rainy days of the pandemic winter.