Alumnus’ Nonprofit Boosts Solar AccessJune 7, 2013
Harvey Mudd College alumnus Greg Harr ’94 has founded a nonprofit to bring solar energy to low-income families in Oregon.
Solar for All partners with local housing organizations by purchasing solar electric systems for affordable housing projects at no cost to the partner organization. Solar panels are purchased from local manufacturers, and installation costs for each project are covered by a combination of state incentive programs and public donations.
“We see this as a way to support our local businesses, reduce our nation’s carbon footprint and help break the poverty cycle by lowering monthly utility bills for families who qualify for low-income housing,” said Harr, who serves as a business process improvement engineer for CH2M HILL, which designs buildings that include solar solutions.
For its first project, Solar for All has partnered with Community Vision, Inc. to install a 3.2kW solar energy system in a new ADA-accessible home being built this summer in Portland, Ore. The system is expected to cover all of the home’s annual heating and cooling needs.
HMC alumnus Jeffrey Drummond ’94/95 helped organize the project’s public fundraising campaign, marketing and communications. As an electrical engineer, he also lends his technical expertise and plans to serve on the Solar for All board of directors.
“I’ve known Greg since college and knew he was a great guy with the skills and motivation to make this organization a success. I wanted to be part of it from the ground level,” said Drummond. “Solar for All was a perfect fit for me, combining my experience and interest in alternative energy and sustainability and my desire to do development work locally instead of abroad.”
No stranger to solar startups, Drummond previously helped HMC engineering Professor Adrian Hightower raise funds for a nonprofit that brought solar energy systems to remote regions of Mali. He’s also worked as a consultant on solar panel industrial installations and the concentrating linear Fresnel reflector solar power system at Sandia National Labs in New Mexico.