Bringing Solar Energy To Every American — Why We Funded Solstice

Meet the team that’s behind Solstice.

Dorm Room Fund is excited to announce our investment in Solstice, a social enterprise aimed at bringing solar energy to the nearly 80 percent of Americans who can’t install rooftop solar. Solstice deploys community solar, which allows households to subscribe to a solar farm in their area and see savings on their utility bill.

Nearly four out of every five Americans — 90 million households — are locked out of the rooftop solar market because they cannot install a system on their roof. There are a variety of reasons for this:

1. They rent their home.

2. They own a condo, or another type of multi-family residence.

3. Their roof is shady, oriented in the wrong direction, or cannot structurally support panels.

4. They don’t have a high credit score to get solar financing.

Solstice’s innovative solutions are making the community solar customer experience simple and effortless, bringing clean energy to as many Americans as possible.

Solstice’s approach:

1. A multifunctional digital platform: Solstice’s digital platform simplifies and streamlines the customer experience so anyone can sign up in minutes. It will allow customers to search their local community solar options, enroll easily, pay their bills directly, monitor their carbon offset and financial savings, and receive incentives for signing up their friends and neighbors.

2. Community organizing and education: The number one reason any customer signs up for solar is because their friend or neighbor switched to solar. Solar is contagious in personal networks, yet Solstice is the first company to leverage this insight into a sustainable go-to-market strategy. Solstice taps into the power of these networks to help entire communities switch to solar together, from corporates to employees, and from churches to congregants.

3. Offering the most customer-friendly product on the market: Market-standard 20-year contracts and high credit score requirements (modeled after rooftop solar contracts) mean that current community solar is still not accessible to the mainstream. Solstice is working with financing partners to offer a shorter-term contract with alternative qualification standards that open up the market to millions more Americans.

The clean energy revolution is here, and Solstice is making this transition inclusive and straightforward for every American.

Why DRF invested

At Dorm Room Fund, we look for founders who have the grit and experience to tackle some of society’s most pressing issues. Steph Speirs’ (CEO, MIT Sloan MBA, ’17) experience in grassroots organizing for the Obama campaign and in renewable energy sales in South Asia taught her that hard work and genuine connections are crucial elements of a successful organization. Steve Moilanen (Co-Founder, Princeton MPA, ’14) was previously employed at the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change working to reduce carbon emissions from the electricity industry, and brings that policy knowledge to Solstice. Sandhya Murali (Co-Founder, MIT Sloan MBA, ’15) was a technology investment banker at Barclays New York and London, and brings her finance and tech background to growing the business.

Additionally, Solstice’s founders have augmented their experiences by hiring a diverse team with knowledge in the sectors of software development, community outreach, and marketing.

Their hard work so far has paid off, enticing investors who see the potential in their innovative business model, and winning them business plan competitions and fellowships. They’ve won acclaim from Obvious Ventures, Techstars Boston, Echoing Green, The Global Good Foundation, The Cordes Foundation, The Boston Foundation, The Ittleson Foundation, The White House, and Grist.

Solstice will be raising a seed round this year, but it has already had an impact: current enrollments offset approximately 538 metric tons of CO2. That’s the equivalent of 574,097 pounds of coal not burned or the carbon sequestration from 13,943 full-grown trees.

We at DRF are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with young entrepreneurs who are paving the way for an equitable, clean energy future.

Interested in learning more about Solstice? Visit them at or follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Dorm Room Fund is dedicated to supporting student founders across the country and helping them reach new heights. Working on a startup? Get in touch on twitter or here. If you’re interested in keeping up to date with DRF, signup for our newsletter here.

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