How This Startup Is Making Clean Energy Affordable for All
Steph Speirs: Hi, my name is Steph Speirs and I’m the cofounder and CEO of Solstice.
Sandhya Murali: And I am Sandhya Murali, cofounder and chief operating officer at Solstice. And we are reshaping access to clean energy.
Steph Speirs: We live in a world right now where solar is cheaper than fossil fuels, and if people could just get access to it, they could save on their utility bills. Most Americans cannot actually put solar on their own home. And community solar is this idea that you can buy a portion of a neighborhood-shared solar farm and switch to solar that way.
Sandhya Murali: So the biggest preconceived notions that people have about going solar is that it’s way too expensive or it’s way too complicated. And what we’re trying to do at Solstice is tackle both of those misconceptions.
Steph Speirs: More than half the country doesn’t have that high credit score, which means that we are locking them out of the clean energy market. So we created the EnergyScore. There was a paper published last year that showed that our energy score is more accurate at predicting whether people will pay their utility bills on time and it’s more inclusive of low-to-moderate income Americans.
Sandhya Murali: The product that we’ve built makes signing up for community solar incredibly simple. And by doing this, you’re helping to support more local clean energy, helping to decarbonize our grid, and you get to put a little money back in your pockets. But one of our most exciting partnerships was with a small town in upstate New York. We’ve enrolled their residents into a local community solar garden, and through our community wealth-building program, the town was able to raise enough money to invest in motion-powered solar lights.
Steph Speirs: Good technology is crucial for our work lives because we run a software company.
Sandhya Murali: As the nature of our work changes, and people are operating more remotely, we need to make sure we have the most portable tools in order for our team to be successful and productive. I personally really love the touch screen on the X1 Fold and the fact that it can fold into a very portable device.
Steph Speirs: In my job, I’m traveling a lot. And so it’s really useful to have a computer that can either be a tiny laptop or a big screen.
Sandhya Murali: So I think we have actually very similar work styles and we follow similar approaches with the rest of our team.
Steph Speirs: In startups, there’s an overemphasis on the founders and there’s an overemphasis on financial capital, but there’s not enough of an emphasis on social capital and building your network around your mission. And so a lot of what we were trying to do is put the community in community solar.