As the Internet serves to democratize the world and enable strangers to share everything from their spare bedrooms to their personal cars through apps and websites, the trend has made its way to renewable energy startups. Specifically, crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow innovators to break outside of the traditional model of seeking out venture capital or applying for government grants. Instead, these ambitious renewable energy projects are increasingly gathering needed startup capital by splitting the risk up among many backers willing to offer up bite-sized chunks of funding.

The decreasing cost of solar PV and battery storage equipment coupled with high cost of electricity and grid outages are playing an increasingly important role in the future energy landscape of the Caribbean region. Most recently, Hurricane Maria devastated multiple islands including Puerto Rico, Dominica, USVI and BVI, amongst others, which left both urban and city dwellers without power for extended periods of time.

In wake of a natural disaster, widespread power outages leave communities cutoff from everyday necessities, such as water, refrigeration, and communication. The most vulnerable communities are disproportionately impacted and oftentimes unable to access critical services during an emergency. Most recently, Hurricane Florence highlighted the obstacles to preparing for and delivering services during a disaster.  

Until recently, the biggest impediment to broad renewable energy adoption has been the inability to transmit and store it. For the first time in the history of the electric grid, technology advances in the lithium-ion battery space are now addressing transmission and storage challenges at a distributed level. Now, it’s technically feasible, and economically reasonable, for consumers to produce, store, and control their own energy with home solar and batteries. Improvements in the regulatory landscape, backed by consumer choice for cleaner, lower cost, and more reliable energy, is changing the outlook for solar energy in the United States.