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The TOMS Shoes of solar

Next Step Living helps US communities accelerate their deployment of renewables AND recently teamed up with Saha Global to bring solar to Sub-Saharan Africa. Their business model: sell renewables in the US, give renewables abroad.

Photo of Sarah Kearney
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Next Step Living is a company on a mission to take the mystery out of Home Energy Efficiency and Solar Power. Founded in Boston in 2008, NSL has now been named to the Inc. 500 list of fast-growing companies, the 2014 Global Cleantech 100 and recognized by the New England Clean Energy Council as an employer of the year. It has also created more than 800 jobs in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

NSL is designed as a one-stop resource for informed advice, expert workmanship and guidance about available incentives and rebates, and partners with more than 400 municipalities, civic organizations and leading corporations to deliver energy-efficient and environmentally friendly solutions, including:
  • Home energy evaluations
  • Weatherization work (air sealing and insulation)
  • Roofing and windows
  • Heating and cooling (ductless mini splits, HVAC systems)
  • Solar panel installation

Earlier in 2014, Next Step Living decided to take their corporate mission one step further and set up " Next Step Giving," a program that supports nonprofit organizations like Saha Global, their first partner. 

With NSL's support, Saha Global is bringing solar power to Sub-Saharan Africa -- to the communities they already know well and have helped to kickstart clean water businesses. By empowering local entrepreneurs to run their own water and solar businesses, and monitoring their success over time, Saha now has a 100% track record for each water and solar business they've helped local entrpereneurs to set up.

The one-two punch of an impact-interested US corporation partnering with a highly-capable nonprofit abroad strikes me as a model that could be replicated many times over in other parts of the world suffering from energy poverty. What other large corporations would be interested in becoming the TOMS shoes of renewables in communities abroad?


Join the conversation:

Photo of Meena Kadri

Great globally connected share, Sarah! Tip: to activate links in your post, hit the Update Entry button up there on the right, then follow the instructions here:  

Photo of Sarah Kearney

Thanks Meena! I updated the links in the post per your instructions.

Photo of Alisha Snyder

What an excellent use of the one-for-one business model!

Photo of Andy Meakins

A great example of a democratic effort to bring renewable energy to places where energy my not exist at all, let alone non-renewables. With this comes capacity for more modern technology, information sharing, and perhaps a better way of life.