TOMS Shoes was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie. On a trip to Argentina, Mycoskie was dismayed to witness extreme poverty and health issues, and discover that many of the local children lacked shoes, a basic necessity. He subsequently launched TOMS Shoes with a simple promise: for every pair of shoes his company sold, he would donate a pair to a child in need. With shoes on their feet, children in underserved countries would be less susceptible to injuries and soil-transmitted diseases and infections, and would be more likely to remain healthy and receive the education necessary to lift them out of poverty.
If you have any questions or comments regarding our involvement in the AMORE rural electrification program or our Make an Impact campaign, please share below.
We will announce the winner of the Grand Prize, a complete SunPower solar energy system worth up to $25,000, in the upcoming weeks. In addition to the Grand Prize, we had more than 60 exciting prizes that we gave away to randomly selected winners. You can find the complete list of winners on the SunPower website.
While the Solar Discovery Game is over, the exploration and education don't have to end! We are looking for a few passionate ambassadors who are enthusiastic about solar and are interested in spreading the word about how solar power can help people save on electricity costs and protect the environment. Leave us a note on Facebook if you think you'd be a great solar ambassador. We'd love to hear from you!
Also, we are offering a rebate of up to $1,750 to all the Solar Discovery Game players interested in purchasing a SunPower solar power system. This is a limited time offer, so sign-up now to qualify.
As always, you can join the solar conversation on our Facebook Page, or leave us a comment below. Let's keep the solar revolution going!
In North Carolina, the bus passed through a town that had little shops that sourced all local ingredients, which gave lots of business to the local farms and winemakers. This particular town not only gets fresh ingredients, but they are also reducing their carbon footprint. For this reason, Nick Devonshire, the fundraising coordinator of Big Green Bus, names North Carolina by far the coolest state they went to. This town is inspiring, proving that sustainability is not only a Northeast/Silicon Valley issue. Even though the bussers endeavor to make an impression on those they meet with, others have also blown them out of the water.
If you missed them this year, keep an eye out for the 2012 tour!
SunPower, through our Foundation, product donations and volunteerism , gets to work with a number of great nonprofit partners in California, around the USA and world. Our goal is to Make an Impact together with these partners and empower, inspire and motivate a new generation of solar energy leaders in communities around the world. The Dartmouth College's Big Green Bus is a prime example of such a project. The bus has been on tour since June, and is visiting us next week! Help us welcome the Big Green Bus in San Jose!
You may have already seen the adventures of Marty the Zebra, Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo and Melman the Giraffe in the Madagascar movies. A series of events led these animals from New York to Madagascar. Of course, they thought they were in San Diego until they were helpfully reminded of their true location when they saw lemurs, one of Madagascar’s most well known residents!
In April 2011, a SunPower team along with representatives from the Vote Solar Initiative and other groups from the Bay Area’s renewable energy industry had the pleasure of visiting the island located 200 miles off the east coast of Africa for a “greening” initiative led by Dr. Brian Fisher, the Chairman of the California Academy of Sciences’ entomology department.
For almost a decade, Dr. Fisher has been traveling from San Francisco to Madagascar, an island that comprises one of the most diverse, unique, and endangered biological hotspots on the planet. Unfortunately, more than 90 percent of the country’s rich natural ecology is already lost to habitat destruction. Dr. Fisher and his team at the Madagascar Biodiversity Center are in a race against time to study and preserve what still remains.
The problem is deforestation. Madagascar’s spiny forest, home to unique species such as: tortoises, mongooses, and the famous lemurs, is being destroyed at an astonishing rate. This is because Madagascar’s local communities rely on the slow-growing forest to supply fuel for cooking as reliable gas and electric infrastructures are virtually non-existent in Madagascar - one of the poorest countries in the world. The villages’ meager daily reliance on the forest as an energy source is the single greatest threat to this fragile ecosystem.
The good news is Dr. Fisher’s efforts have already started to pay off. Our team went to the island on a mission to install solar panels on Madagascar Biodiversity Center, which is located in the capital city of Antananarivo. Dr. Fisher serves as Executive Director of the center. Hand in hand, the team installed a 7.8 kilowatt SunPower system. The system will provide enough reliable electricity to meet 100 percent of the Center’s power needs for education and research. Before solar, the Center would have to stop research work during the frequent and often unexpected power outages. In addition, much of the Center’s sensitive equipment was damaged by the intermittent power and surges. The solar system also is a symbolic step towards a green fossil free fuel future for Madagascar. By virtually eliminating the facility’s dependence on fossil fuel-based generation from the local utilities, the clean energy system advances the Center’s larger environmental mission.
Today the center is abuzz with students conducting uninterrupted research with a strengthened focus on protecting their country’s rich biological heritage. We are honored to be part of such an initiative. Check out our photos of the Madagascar Biodiversity Center.
We encourage you to visit the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco to learn more about Dr. Fisher’s work and get a more in depth perspective on the importance of Madagascar and the Rainforests of the World. We hope you will join us in supporting this great organization locally and globally. We’ll keep you updated on our efforts. And please let us know if you have questions or ideas!
If you would like to learn more about this project please leave questions here or on our Facebook wall.
Play for your chance to win a $25,000 SunPower solar energy system installation and much more!
This summer, SunPower is introducing the Solar Discovery Game, an interactive online trivia contest hosted on Facebook that promotes solar energy education and awareness in the U.S. By playing, you can win the grand prize of a complete SunPower solar energy system worth up to $25,000, and will be entered to win more than 60 featured prizes, including plane tickets, video cameras, gift cards, event tickets, SunPower gear, and much more! As the grand prize winner, you can win the SunPower solar installation for your home, add to your existing system, or gift it to your family, friends, neighbor or a local community building, such as a school or recreation center.
Playing the game is simple. Just visit the Solar Discovery Game on Facebook and answer trivia questions to earn panels (or points) towards the grand prize. You’ll earn “virtual badges” for unlocking achievements along the way and can share your progress with your friends. Each week, we’ll add new questions to answer and new prizes to win.
We’ve collaborated with some of our partners to bring a variety of prizes and contest questions. These partners include the Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA®), Del Monte Foods, eBay Green Team, Hawaiian Airlines, Jersey Gardens, California Academy of Sciences and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).
With the Solar Discovery Game, we hope to inspire our growing social media community to discover more about emission-free solar power, and share that knowledge virally with friends and family. We’re also looking for you to get involved and tell us what questions you’d like to see in the game. Submit your questions below and we might include them in the Solar Discovery Game!
The contest will run throughout the summer, from June 21st to September 14th. We will annouce the winner on September 16th. Spread the word about solar and ask your friends and family to test their solar skills with the Solar Discovery Game! The sooner you begin playing, the sooner you’ll begin racking up panels towards the Grand Prize. Play now!
The Solar Discovery Game is sponsored by SunPower Corp. and available to legal residents in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The promotion starts on June 21 and continues through September 14. Employees, directors and officers of SunPower Corporation, and any of their respective affiliates, parents, subsidiary companies, and advertising and promotion agencies and members of the immediate families and/or those living in the same household of any of the foregoing are not eligible. Visit Official Rules to learn more detail about Solar Discovery Contest.
Today, we would like to share a recent project where SunPower helped make an impact to the local community in Manila, Philippines. In early March, more than 150 SunPower employees including the management team joined Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM), a nonprofit organization providing wheelchairs for the impoverished disabled in developing nations, to assemble and distribute wheelchairs to beneficiaries. We assembled 1,100 wheelchairs and distributed them through health clinics, schools and disability centers locally. It was an extremely rewarding project as SunPower deeply cares about the people who live in the regions where we work, all around the world.
Shool kids in need receiving their wheelchairs
During this project, we learned that there are about 100 million people living in the developing countries suffer with walking disabilities, yet cannot afford a wheelchair. This is a lot of people… To date, FWM has provided more than 550,000 wheelchairs in 78 countries. Don Schoendorfer founded the nonprofit humanitarian organization in 2001. Don developed the original FWM wheelchair model to navigate both the uneven rural terrain and inaccessible urban areas common to underserved regions of the world. SunPower is proud to partner with FWM to expand its ability to provide additional wheelchairs in Philippines.
SunPower's CEO, Tom Werner on behalf of the management team expressing gratitudes
SunPower is helping distribute wheelchairs and making an impact on people’s lives
At the end of the project, we invited everyone including some beneficiaries to our fabrication facility in Manila for a special event. We also had a friendly competition with employees to build wheelchairs as a team.
It was incredible to be a part of an activity that so dramatically changed the life lives of so many individuals in such a personal way – mobility is a right that so many of us so often take for granted. Imagine if you were isolated to a bed and room indoors and unable to enjoy the outdoors safely? Imagine if your family and friends had to carry you to make sure that you were safe from disease and danger – on a daily basis? To be able to share our community members’ joy as many sat in a wheelchair for the first time, and to connect our employees to such an important cause, was an incredible gift and opportunity.
A young child with his new wheelchair
You can learn more about Free Wheelchair Mission by clicking here.
Many commenters on Facebook, Twitter and this blog have asked for an update on the 'Make an Impact' campaign from summer 2010, so today we’re providing news on the SunPower Foundation’s work with Winrock International and the AMORE program in the Philippines.
As part of SunPower’s initial Facebook kick-off on Earth Day 2010, we conducted the "Make an Impact" campaign in which SunPower donated $1 to the SunPower Foundation on behalf of each new Facebook user that liked SunPower. Over the final two weeks of the campaign in November 2010, SunPower upped the donation to $10 for each new "like." In turn, the SunPower Foundation would contribute that money to one of three non-profit organizations aligned with our environmental and community improvement goals. Thanks to fan enthusiasm in spreading the word and joining with SunPower. By the end of the campaign, 3,570 new fans were responsible for an $8,500 donation!
The SunPower Foundation directed a portion of this money to AMORE, a rural electrification program that leverages renewable technologies such as solar installations to deliver lighting services and electricity to remote, off-grid areas on the Philippines island of Mindanao. AMORE, which stands for Alliance for Mindanao and Multi-Regional Rural/Renewable Off-Grid Renewable Energy, is a partnership between the SunPower Foundation, Winrock International, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Philippines Department of Energy and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
SunPower joined AMORE in the early phases and expanded our contributions significantly for Phase 3. A major tenet of AMORE Phase 3 is providing electricity to rural schools to improve the educational experience and enable distance learning. Over the life of the AMORE program, 224 schools have already been energized (including 119 with SunPower panels), providing educational improvements to roughly 44,000 local students. In Phase 3, 150 new schools will be added benefiting at least 35,000 students. In 2010 alone, 20 schools were solarized.
These installations provide enormous benefits to the Mindanao communities, many of which are racked by poverty, years of local conflict and a lack of infrastructure. Beyond the educational improvements and what that represents for the economic productivity of future generations, there are significant environmental and health benefits associated with cutting down CO2 output and removing the need to burn wood and other fuels. AMORE solar projects also provide economic opportunities such as job creation and workforce training. All of this leads to an improve standard of living for local residents.
To all of our followers who made this donation possible, thank you for joining with SunPower and the SunPower Foundation. If you’re interested in learning more about the mission of the SunPower Foundation, projects it’s funding or how to get involved, please visit the SunPower Foundation web site. If you have any questions or comments regarding current projects, please share below.
As we near the end of SunPower’s Make an Impact Facebook campaign, our friends at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties have shared a great video (below) detailing the install of their new 322-kW SunPower solar system. The installation was a donation from SunPower and Cypress Semiconductors, working through the SunPower Foundation. On October 1st, the Second Harvest team marked the occasion with a dedication ceremony attended by Second Harvest Food Bank CEO Kathy Jackson, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, SunPower CEO Tom Werner and Cypress Semiconductor CEO TJ Rodgers.
As Kathy Jackson says in the video, every cost (including electricity) at Second Harvest Food Bank boils down to meals provided. Thanks to the new SunPower system, Second Harvest Food Bank will save 50% off their future electricity bill and provide 6 million more meals to the local community over the life of the project.
The installation at Second Harvest Food Bank represents how the SunPower Foundation partners with non-profit organizations to provide solar power and positively impact local communities. If you want to Make Your Impact, visit the SunPower Facebook page and ‘like’ SunPower by Monday, November 15th. We’ll donate $10 on your behalf to similar non-profit solar projects. Likewise, visit the Second Harvest Food Bank site to learn how to help Santa Clara and San Mateo communities by donating your money or your time.
Back in early May, SunPower launched the Make an Impact campaign on Facebook in an effort to connect with fellow solar enthusiasts and donate to community-based solar projects through our partner, the SunPower Foundation. Six months later, over $3,000 fans have 'liked' SunPower on Facebook, resulting in more than $3000 donated to solar projects around the world.
The original goal of Make an Impact called for SunPower to donate $100,000 to non-profit solar projects by November 1st. Today, we’re a ways off, so we’re upping the ante. For the next two weeks (ending November 15th), we’ll donate $10 on behalf of any new fans who 'Like' SunPower on Facebook. That’s right, all you have to do is "Like" SunPower on Facebook, and we will donate $10 to solar development projects operated by our esteemed, non-profit partners.
If you’re looking to make an impact in the growth and adoption of solar energy, click on this Facebook link, "Like" SunPower and know that you’re responsible for a $10 donation to non-profit solar. If you want to make an even greater impact, you can share this news with your friends by clicking here. At the $10 donation rate, we’ll need 9,700 new fans by November 15th to reach our ultimate donation goals. Thanks for working with us to make this donation possible.
The solar projects the SunPower Foundation has contributed to include powering Malaysian turtle hatcheries operated by the World Wildlife Fund, assisting rural electrification in the Philippines through Winrock International and operating solar education programs across the US (centered around the awesome Solar Flowers) with BlackRock Solar. See below for photos from the SunPower Foundation projects or check out our Facebook photo album:
The Black Rock Solar SunFlowers were all the rage at Exploratorium in San Francisco in early October. They’re beautiful, but they also teach kids and adults about solar energy.
Black Rock Solar teaches US kids about renewable energy and environmental stewardship.
The SunPower Foundation supports Winrock International in powering schools in rural sections of the Philippines.