New Haven Community Solar Launches Second Crowd-Investment Solar Project

New Haven Community Solar Launches Second Crowd-Investment Solar Project

The Jim Vlock First Year Building Project, in the tradition of studio-busting design and implementation, has partnered with students from across the university to innovatively fund and install solar panels on the 2019 house.

This is the second project in partnership with Columbus House and New Haven Community Solar.

New Haven Community Solar is designed to deliver discount-price power from a 11.2kW solar array on this year’s Jim Vlock First Year Building Project triplex. The company is founded with the mission to bring clean and affordable energy to those traditionally left out of the market—and those often most in need. This partnership is part of a broader effort to develop a crowd investment model that makes funding social and environmental capital projects more accessible.

By using crowd-investing mechanisms, this model allows members of the local community to actively develop projects in the neighborhood. The Jim Vlock First Year Building Project is in its third year working with Columbus House, a New Haven-based charity that serves people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. As a non-profit serving economically vulnerable clients, steady energy prices are important to Columbus House’s mission. Yet the nonprofit’s tax-free status makes investing in capital intensive, low-rate solar energy difficult using traditional credit mechanisms.

Recent Yale alumni and current Yale students are seeking to address this solar financing gap by tackling the tough world of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which just released a new rule that allows non-accredited individuals to make investments on crowdfunding platforms. With these new guidelines in hand, companies across the country have quickly mobilized to participate in this new financial arena. Particularly lacking, however, is the building industry. New Haven Community Solar is changing that.

Like the Building Project itself, New Haven Community Solar builds upon its precedent and solidifies its connections to Elm City. The students involved are seeking to create opportunities where there were none by uniting project work across the Graduate and Professional Schools, as well as within existing institutions in New Haven.

The project is now featured on MainVest. Please visit for more information about the project, mission, and opportunities to participate.