Entrepreneur and community builder, Steph Speirs, aims to unlock the possibility of solar power for the roughly 90 million households that are locked out of the solar market in the US. Some rent their homes, others have less than optimal credit scores, or their roof is too shaded or otherwise unsuited to a solar array.  Steph is the co-founder and CEO of Solstice, which wants to turbocharge access to clean energy through community solar and “make the clean energy revolution work for everyone in America.”

We’ve talked a lot lately on SunCast about the need for a more equitable and inclusive approach to solar for all households. In today’s discussion, Steph and I explore this theme through innovations like the Solstice energy score, a proprietary underwriting standard for solar customers. It’s more accurate in predicting who will pay their utility bill and more inclusive of low-income Americans than traditional FICO credit scores, those three-digit numbers used to assess creditworthiness. 

Steph believes “the role of power and privilege is to use it to open up doors for other folks to access that same power” and shares that perspective in a most engaging exchange today. 

Steph’s private market innovation & entrepreneurship has been recognized and lauded. Yet, it’s her public sector work that is really eye-catching. She developed Middle East policy as the youngest policy director at the White House National Security Council, served as a special assistant to the Office of the Secretary in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and managed field operations in seven states for the first Obama presidential campaign. 

“The number one job that prepared me to do what I do today is being a community organizer with the Obama campaign,” she said.

I hope you tune into today’s podcast to hear Steph explain how from that experience Solstice was born, in which she and her team set out to find a better, more inclusive qualification standard than FICO scores for helping more people go solar. She helps me better understand Solstice’s new community solar qualification metric, the EnergyScore. Leveraging data from nearly 875,000 customer records, the EnergyScore aims to predict future payment behavior more accurately than FICO credit scores while simultaneously including a more significant proportion of qualified low-to-moderate income customers.

Trust me when I tell you it’s worth your time to listen to everything Steph says in today’s very enlightening and uplifting show.