Saturday, January 7, 2017

Best of SunRunr 2016: A Year of Global Solutions

The three-person team behind SunRun of Virginia Inc., Alan Mattichak, Jenny French and Scott French. Photo courtesy Mark Rhodes and Virginia Business magazine.
In 2004, SunRunr began as a spark of an idea.  Now just twelve years later, our portable Solar + Storage generator systems are making a global impact.  From Virginia to the South Pacific, our systems are providing off-grid, supplemental, and backup power to homes and businesses.  2016 was a year that highlighted our three key passions: providing portable renewable energy solutions, championing discussions on energy issues and policy, and raising public awareness of sustainability and preparedness. 

Portable Renewable Energy Solutions
Photo credit Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA
In the SunRunner Sphere Blog this past year, we shared how SunRunr owners around the world are Using the 4 Phases of Emergency Management to Weather a Power Outage. SunRunr owner, Andrew P., gave us a front row seat in this video he recorded as Hurricane Matthew tore through the Caribbean.  “Here we are in the middle of Hurricane Matthew,” Andrew reported. “But the good thing is that we have the SunRunr generator here giving us light, powering the refrigerator, and running some fans.”

In calmer but uniquely difficult waters, our partners Alternative Energy, Inc. incorporated a SunRunr generator within a custom, off-grid solar solution on the island nation of Palau. A fish hatchery powered by the sun is now up and running on the remote island.

Energy Issues and Policy
SunRunr’s Jenny French speaking at StartUpAfrica Conference.
In April, SunrRunr was invited to join a briefing at the White House with senior Administration officials, the White House Business Council and Business Forward.  The briefing included more than 50 business leaders from across the country, and discussions focused on the clean and renewable energy economy and the impacts of climate change on business, national security, human health, and the global economy.

September found SunRunr’s Jenny French at the 2016 StartUpAfrica Entrepreneurship Conference held at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. French spoke on a panel discussing “Entrepreneurship in Africa: Now and in the Future.”

SunRunr’s perspective was also called on in October with an invitation to participate in a small business roundtable with Cuban Ambassador José Ramón Cabañas. The event was organized by Virginia Exports and Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

Raising Awareness of Sustainability and Preparedness

SunRunr was nationally honored this year with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA)  2016 Individual and Community Preparedness Award for Technological Innovation.  During an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., SunRunr and ten other awardees were recognized for our innovative practices and programs that contribute to making communities safer, better prepared, and more resilient.  During roundtable and breakout discussions with high-level officials, recipients were asked to share our success stories, lessons learned, and expertise.  The two-day event gave us a lot to reflect on as we look to the future.

One of our most gratifying highlights of 2016 has been to watch the development of the Net-Zero Science Classroom at North Fork Middle School in Quicksburg, Virginia.  In January, SunRunr visited the school to demonstrate a solar generator to John Woods’ 6th grade science class.  With financial support from the Moore Educational Trust and partnerships with local businesses and community-based organizations, the students are now implementing real-world energy solutions and have advanced to Phase II toward a Net-Zero Science Classroom.

In 2017, join our discussions on SunRunner Sphere Blog and on Facebook as we continue to bring you news and developments from around the world on Going Green, Sustainable Solar, & Practical Preparedness.