SunCommon was founded to address the climate crisis, and built on the pillars of community organizing and activism. It’s our mission to break down the barriers to renewable energy, but we know that our role goes beyond just installing solar panels. Creating a brighter future demands collective advocacy and action. Here’s the story of how we’re using our business as a force for good.
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We are committed to supporting the growth of a diverse clean energy workforce. With that goal in mind, we’ve partnered with two local organizations to help fund apprenticeship programs in the renewable energy industry. For every household that looks into solar, we’re donating $30 to support these training programs.
The Climate Action Film Festival unites activists, filmmakers, our community, and beyond, all in the name of addressing the climate crisis and inspiring local action. The 2nd annual CAFF will take place in March 2021 and will celebrate short and feature length films that focus on solutions and direct action.
We’re not afraid of getting involved. In fact, it’s what has helped keep us connected to the heartbeat of our community since day one! This timeline shows our deep history of activism, and the wonderful faces along the way who have helped push important movements forward.
Our democracy works best when everyone gets involved. For the 2020 election cycle, SunCommon advocated for a high voter turnout in both the state and national primary and general elections. Along with public outreach, SunCommon made a commitment to give staff paid time to vote, and volunteer helping others vote..Read More
The SunCommon community advocated for Vermont regulators to support Vermont solar incentives, rather than continue to decrease them. Despite urgent climate action needed and hundreds of public comments, the Vermont Public Utility Commission approved decreases to Vermont’s only solar incentive.
SunCommon launches the first Climate Action Film Festival (CAFF), showcasing 11 independent films at 5 sold-out screenings in Vermont and New York’s Hudson Valley. The events raise over $8,800 to support local climate advocacy groups. Attendees were also given the opportunity to sign local petitions and learn how to call..Read More
Representative Peter Welch visits SunCommon to spotlight a new employee program to support staff by paying down student loan debt. Congressman Walsh uses SunCommon and other local businesses as examples in a national effort he is leading to address student debt relief.
SunCommon employees participate in the global climate strike, helping to bring more attention to the lack of tangible progress being made in addressing the global climate crisis. While some members of staff held signs in solidarity as they continued their work selling and installing solar, dozens of others attended strike..Read More
SunCommon launches the “Drive Electric Pledge” which states: “We pledge not to purchase or lease any fossil fuel burning vehicles as long as there are viable electric alternatives. We make this commitment, for our business and/or personal use, for now and in the future.” In addition to urging others to..Read More
Taking a day off from building solar, SunCommon employees set a record by planting 1,200 trees in one afternoon with Friends of Winooski River. These trees will protect eroding riverbanks and sequester carbon.
SunCommon co-founder, Duane Peterson, lobbies at the State House for a mandatory paid family leave program in Vermont, but the legislation does not pass. SunCommon has always offered its own paid family leave program that over 20 staff members have utilized.
SunCommon flips the switch on the 1200-panel Pointe of Praise Community Solar Project in Kingston, NY. This solar array provides electricity for the church and local community members, and a portion of the array’s electricity will go to low and moderate-income members of the congregation. (A second array of similar..Read More
Governor Phil Scott visits SunCommon to learn about our market-solution to climate change and share his views. SunCommon staff advocate for more action on addressing the climate crisis from the Scott administration.
SunCommon launches a partnership with Vermont Works for Women, fundraising and supporting their ‘Rosie’s Girls’ and ‘Woman Can Do’ programs. Vermont Works for Women and their campaign “Change the Story” have been incredible guides to SunCommon in working to develop and advance gender equity initiatives in our business and communities.
This holiday campaign raises $6,630 for the Vermont Foodbank to help fight food insecurity across the state. In a state where 1-in-4 Vermonters face hunger every day, $6,630 can purchase 11,000 meals, or more than 13,000 pounds (6.5 tons!) of food — or, in other words, it can feed two..Read More
SunCommon co-founder, Duane, is a founding member of Male Champions for Change, a project of the Vermont Women’s Fund’s “Change the Story” project. This initiative brings together male business executives who are committed to use their leadership to elevate gender equity as an issue of social and economic importance in..Read More
Senator Bernie Sanders visits SunCommon’s Waterbury office and speaks with staff members about where the business has found success, as well as where the industry at large can receive more support to continue effectively taking on the climate crisis.
SunCommon builds and then sends a solar-powered relief trailer to Puerto Rico with AMICUS collaboration. The trailer generates off-grid solar power for communities impacted by the hurricane, providing charging stations as well as a water filtration system.
Green Mountain Power & SunCommon organize the first CSA for low and moderate-income Vermonters. The 325-panel solar system is located on the roof of GMP’s service center in Middlebury and provides power to 35 local families.
Vermont’s Public Utility Commission recommends decreasing the value of solar net metering, so SunCommon rallies more than three-fourths of the total public comments in opposition. The damaging changes go through despite these advocacy efforts, and major damage is done to community solar opportunities across the state.
SunCommon and Vermont’s largest utility, Green Mountain Power, partner to launch the state’s first residential solar and battery storage program. Energy storage is essential to creating a grid powered entirely by renewable energy.
SunCommon moves into its new 12,000 square-foot office and warehouse facility in Waterbury, VT. The solar panels on site produce more energy than the building uses, which makes it net energy positive. It wins several “green building” awards and serves as inspiration for others in the region.
SunCommon’s 401k retirement plans are divested from climate-harming fossil fuels and instead are invested in the clean energy economy. As of 2020, SunCommon employees own $3.2 million in this employer-sponsored wealth creation plan.
SunCommon pioneers a new approach to residential solar that allows Vermonters to go solar with no upfront cost and no long-term commitment. SunCommon builds over 30 Community Solar Arrays (CSAs) starting in 2014, quickly racking up 8% of U.S. market share within 2 years. The first community array built in..Read More
SunCommoners and other Vermont B Corps share a bus to attend The People’s Climate March in New York City, to demand action addressing the climate crisis. The event stands as the largest climate change march in history, with over 300,000 people in attendance. Described as “an invitation to change everything,”..Read More
SunCommon hosts its first “Sun CARnival” in Burlington, designed to advocate for and excite the community about transitioning to electric vehicles. Hundreds attend the inaugural Sun CARnival, and it becomes a yearly event. U.S. transportation makes up the largest segment of fossil fuel emissions in the United States, so emission-free..Read More
SunCommon officially launches as a Public Benefit Corporation and Certified B Corp, committed to advancing a triple bottom line business model that equally supports people, planet, and profit. The launch event is held at SunCommon’s new office, The Energy Mill*, and is attended by 16 founding SunCommoners, Governor Peter Shumlin,..Read More
Vermont’s future co-founders run a successful legislative campaign to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. While the bill passes with flying colors in the state legislature, it’s attacked by high-dollar nuclear special interests and overturned in 2012. Public outcry against the plant, however, leads to its ultimate closure in..Read More
The Hudson Solar team moves into a brand new office built to produce more energy that it consumed. This style of “net energy positive” building was a new concept in the region at that time and earned Hudson Solar bragging rights among the growing community of green builders.
Hudson Solar founder Jeff Irish installs a solar system at his home in Rhinebeck, NY to reduce his own dependency on fossil fuels. Shortly afterwards, he begins receiving calls from friends and neighbors asking about solar for their own homes. Jeff completes 11 solar installs in 2003.
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