Solar is harder than most people think, even though it’s grown in popularity over the past 10 years.
Hayes Barnard wants to make solar easier. Barnard was SolarCity’s Chief Revenue Officer, a job he took on when the solar-installer acquired his company, Paramount Solar, in 2013. A few months after the deal, Barnard created a solar nonprofit affiliated with SolarCity. When Tesla and Solar City merged in 2016, Barnard spun off the nonprofit prior to the tie-up and continues to run the organization.
Called GivePower, it facilitates solar projects in places where there currently isn’t much energy drawn from the sun. This week, the organization announced that it had assisted the Sioux Nation is developing a 300-kilowatt solar farm in North Dakota on the Standing Rock Reservation, not far from the controversial Dakota Access pipeline and in the heart of fracking country. The solar farm is North Dakota’s first.
The power generated by the system, which is owned by the tribe, will go to a Sioux Nation community center and to a veterans center. Of the income flowing in from operating the utility, the tribe will spend half on a scholarship fund to preserve its language.
GivePower has handed off the project at this point, after managing the development, securing the land, overseeing engineering an construction, and even hiring a member of the Sioux tribe – who has now moved on to start his own solar-development business.
When Barnard isn’t working on GivePower, he’s running Loanpal, a solar-financing company that’s trying to address what he thinks is another challenge with the industry.