Lightstar Renewables and Empower Energies partner on equitable community access to solar energy

Projects will enable local climate action, powering homes with clean energy and reducing carbon emissions

BOSTON, March 02, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Lightstar Renewables and Empower Energies announce their partnership to develop new community solar projects. With a common goal of deploying clean energy to communities that need it most, Lightstar and Empower will develop cost effective community solar projects that deliver local benefits while contributing to energy and climate goals. The partnership will leverage Lightstar’s development capital and expertise in navigating community solar markets, to enable Empower’s entrance into community solar project development.

Empower’s development personnel will utilize Lightstar’s funding, veteran policy team, and systematic development process to originate and develop community solar projects in accordance with the Department of Energy (DOE) goal of 5 million homes being powered by community solar by 2025, and a goal of 50-52 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas pollution from 2005 levels in 2030 by the U.S. Federal Government.

Many states in the U.S. are marked at ‘high risk’ of energy shortfalls according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), while some electricity cuts (utilities shutting off people’s electric and gas service for nonpayment) increased by 80% as per Bailout Watch. These growing problems require urgent solutions to stabilize access to energy for communities across these states. The partnership between both companies will create a nexus of deep industry knowledge and experience, enabling development and execution of projects with agility. Solar power from the projects will improve the speed of transition to clean energy, while bolstering energy security and electricity reliability increasingly threatened by climate change and an aging grid.

Paul Wheeler, Founder and CEO of Lightstar, said, “There’s a critical need that calls upon the entire industry to produce low carbon energy that simultaneously improves energy security and grid reliability. Community solar projects have the power to solve these issues, while creating equitable and sustainable access to energy - but these need to be deployed at an unprecedented rate. Collaboration within the industry is necessary to make tremendous strides - it cannot be done alone. We are grateful to partner with Empower Energies in fostering our cohesive mission of making solar energy accessible for all. Lightstar is constantly striving to expand our impact. Our development partnerships enable us to do just that and keep organically growing our operational asset portfolio.”

Once operational, these community solar projects will provide residents and businesses access to electricity bill savings through discounted community solar subscriptions, while local grids become cleaner and more reliable and create tax revenue for local municipalities. Additionally, farm owners hosting dual-use projects will retain the land's farming use while earning long-term reliable income from the solar project.

Michael Belko, President and CEO of Empower Energies, said, “We are excited to partner with Lightstar to execute these community solar projects, giving both of us the opportunity to deepen availability of locally produced clean energy to communities that need it most.”

Patrick Corr, Chief Strategy Officer of Empower Energies, added, “This partnership with Lightstar allows us to take another step towards our mission to address climate change by reducing dependence on pollution-emitting sources, and ensuring more people will benefit from a consistent source of low-cost energy.”

If you are a developer, or an engineer, procurement or construction (EPC) provider, looking to partner with Lightstar, visit: Lightstar Solar Development Funding

About Lightstar
Lightstar is a community solar developer and long-term owner with a pipeline of over 800 Megawatts (MWs) of community solar farms in the US. Founded by a seasoned team of solar developers, our mission is to be good stewards of the land and the community that we serve. We are focused on leading in community solar development that is built with ecology and agricultural needs at the forefront, which in our mind is a key next phase of the clean energy transition.

About Empower Energies:
Empower Energies strives to be the leading nationwide provider of turnkey clean energy solutions for the Fortune 500, regional corporations, and public organizations. Our clients trust us to assess, design, finance, and construct their critical projects on time and on budget to meet their ESG goals, reduce their energy costs, and ensure a healthier Earth for future generations.

Empower Energies has completed over 200 MW of clean energy projects nationwide, with over 800 MW of solar and storage projects currently in development. These include some of the largest commercial solar canopies on the planet for its Fortune 100 clients. Their leadership team, which include alumni of SunEdison, SolarCity, NRG and Tesla, represent a combined 1.7 GW in clean energy project experience.

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