Back in 2015, the United Nations (UN) released the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is a list of 17 global goals that we should aim to achieve as agreed upon by world leaders and experts at the UN. They believe that this list is the key to creating a better world. It’s because they combat our biggest issues such as poverty, inequality, and, of course, climate change. The seventh goal is to ensure that everyone around the world has access to affordable and clean energy.
Many of us already make smart decisions about this. Some communities are powered by hydroelectric and wind powers. If not, we rely on solar energy. We made smart decisions by installing solar panels on our rooftops. We also purchased solar power banks and saved them for a rainy day. But it’s important to remember that underserved communities don’t have the same access to clean energy. Fortunately, there are nonprofit organizations around the world that help with that.
We Care Solar
Founded by Dr. Laurel Statchel in 2010, We Care Solar aims to provide solar energy access to underserved communities in Africa. As Dr. Statchel spent some time in Northern Nigeria in 2008, she found a low maternal mortality rate. She realized that a big reason for this is the instability or lack of electricity in hospitals. If they can, doctors would often delay surgeries and wait when there’s sunlight. Otherwise, they were forced to conduct urgent surgeries in the dark.
With the help of an expert engineer, Brent Moellenberg, We Care Solar developed the We Care Solar Suitcase to provide portable energy sources for hospitals with poor conditions. Although this organization’s immediate goal is to help hospitals, no one could deny that they’re also creating a positive impact on the environment by minimizing the reliance on fossil fuels.
The International Solar Energy Society
The International Solar Energy Society (ISES) has been working towards a future powered by clean energy since 1954. As one of the biggest and most experienced clean energy nonprofits worldwide, it was accredited by the UN in 1963. Since then, ISES has been working with the UN and various governments on programs that bring more access to sustainable energy. Although ISES traces its humble roots in Phoenix, Arizona, it’s currently headquartered in Freiburg, Germany.
Unlike many nonprofits, ISES works on a global scale. It has worked with over 110 countries. Through their associations, they’ve shared knowledge of renewable energy technologies. They’ve powered underserved villages and communities. They’ve helped governments integrate renewable energy systems and monitored the impact of clean energy.
The Solar Foundation
Also a longtime advocate for clean energy sources, the Solar Foundation was founded in 1977. Since then, the organization has been researching the impact of clean energy on the environment, making them a leading source of knowledge on the subject. They’ve published several research projects, articles, and studies that help fellow researchers, policymakers, and businessmen and women.
To date, the Solar Foundation has impacted over 380 towns and cities across the United States. They’ve helped the local government build solar energy sources to power up people’s homes and businesses. Their work will only become more impactful, though. This is because, in November 2020, they announced that they’re working with the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) to reach more communities and speed up the spread of solar energy around the country.
The biggest hurdle that nonprofits face is the shortage of funding. They may have the most comprehensive and impressive projects in the pipelines. But those won’t matter if they don’t have the funding that would launch such projects. It’s a good thing that there are nonprofits such as RE-volv that are dedicated to aiding nonprofits so they could make a positive impact on our communities.
RE-volv created the Solar Seed Fund. It’s a pay-it-forward model dedicated to solar energy. Nonprofits can get funding from the Solar Seed Fund so that they could launch their projects. Apart from that, they also provide training for future solar ambassadors. So far, RE-volv has impacted over 53 thousand community members and funded 42 nonprofit solar projects.
Our reliance on fossil fuels to provide us with energy is very harmful to the planet. The production of fossil fuels results in a high amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere. This, in turn, damages our ozone layer. In the United States, about 40 percent of the energy used goes to electricity. The best way to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels is by using alternative means of energy.
So it’s great that there are many nonprofits out there that ensure everyone will have access to clean energy in the future.