About Solar Richmond
Solar Richmond is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2006 in Richmond, California. Our mission is to catalyze transformative change that deepens the connection between people, place, and planet. We work to foster healthier, safer, and more sustainable communities, breaking down barriers of race and class as we promote the green economy.
Solar Richmond offers free solar training, staffing services leading to temporary and permanent employment, and green business ownership opportunities for low income and under-employed residents. Serving as a solar and green-jobs advocate, we work with our partners to promote solar and inclusive green economic development in Richmond and the Bay Area.
Michele McGeoy founded Solar Richmond in 2006 to address the eco-divide in the solar industry, a divide that she also witnessed in her previous work in the Silicon Valley tech world. McGeoy approached City of Richmond politicians, businesses and local non-profits and began advocating for the adoption of solar and the creation of a solar training program for low-income and underemployed local residents. With support and advice from Richmond’s Mayor, Gayle McLaughlin, and other civic and community leaders, Michele started a program which is now considered a national model. From what began as solar training course, Solar Richmond is nowa social enterprise that also offers holistic leadership development, transitional employment, staffing services and free consulting to consumers.
To learn more about Solar Richmond's history, read our 2009 Annual Report.
- Our graduates have worked with local vendors to install over 2 MW of solar installation including a 500 kW commercial building in Richmond, a 175 kW wastewater plant in Marin, a solar thermal system at a Richmond fire station and a 16 kW system at an Oakland church.
- Created over 300 temporary jobs through our Staffing Services and supported approximately 50 gain permanent jobs in the solar industry.
- Introduced a 2010 City resolution that established a goal of 10 MW of solar installation and 150 new green-collar jobs by 2015.
- Highlighted in Van Jones’ bestselling book, The Green-Collar Economy, as groundbreaking leaders in the green jobs field.
- Completed over 50 installations for low-income homeowners.
- Initiated a successful resolution to solarize Richmond’s City Hall.
- Highlighted in O Magazine, TIME, Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, NPR, The New Yorker, San Francisco Chronicle and Solar Today.
- Acknowledged as a model program by the US Conference of Mayors, Community Action Partnership, the Apollo Alliance and Green for All.
- Successfully partnered with the City of Richmond to market and promote its Richmond Recovery Rebate Program in 2012.
- Launched the Bay Area’s first solar and energy efficiency cooperative for marginalized workers, Pamoja Energy Solutions, to create permanent jobs and foster inclusive wealth creation.