Van Vincent, Faustina Roman, and Carl Rogers, partners of VGI Energy, are dedicated to developing a clean energy economy to mitigate severe climatic changes for future generations. In order to accomplish their global goal, they utilize their sustainable business expertise to develop a clean energy economy in their community, Chicago.
In the summer of 2015 Van and Faustina collaborated with the European Union by participating in a Climate-KIC PHD summer program studying climate related climate and sustainable energy finance, design for adaptation, resilient urban communities and, and low carbon cities. The program was also a challenge to develop a replicable model for sustainable development. As a result from Van and Faustina’s educational endeavors, they won the Climate-KIC challenge with their MARIA Eco-Platform.
MARIA Eco-Platform is a multifaceted climate, economic development and awareness tool for stakeholders to help with the problem of climate change – too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is trapping heat and warming the planet. The platform was a product of global collaboration and can be implemented in any county, city, or company that is interested in sustainable value creation. VGI Energy implemented this global business framework in Chicago, by providing solar power to non-profit, low income and faith-based communities.
The MARIA Eco-Platform has provided VGI with framework to create sustainable value. Value is not only in the environmental benefits, but also in the jobs that it creates for the Chicago community. 2.4 MWs of planned solar installation will generate approximately 30 well-paid jobs ranging project planning, manufacturing, installation, grid connection and operations and maintenance.
VGI has the ambitious aspiration to provide One MW of solar power in all 50 wards of Chicago, with the potential to create over 500 jobs for the Chicago community. Van, Faustina, and Carl are major stakeholders in the Chicago community due to their cutting edge business structure that benefits local low-income communities as well as global impact on greenhouse gas reduction.
50 MW of solar power has the capacity to mitigate 44,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels into the atmosphere. That’s equivalent to reducing carbon emissions from over 9300 passenger cars or electricity use of over 6500 homes. Developing solar requires that we adapt the built environment to make projects efficient. In the case a natural disaster occurs and the grid is not responsive, solar power and battery storage provide community resilience to these disasters. VGI uses innovative financing strategies in order to provide free solar infrastructure to communities that traditionally do not have access to renewable energy. Additionally, by collaborating with local stakeholders and community members VGI is creating awareness of global climate problems as well as introducing them to the economic benefits of solar power.
VGI is on track to reach the goal of One MW of solar power plus battery storage in all 50 Chicago wards. In 2015-2016 VGI Energy won three, solar renewable energy credit auctions from the Illinois Power Agency, totaling 2.4 Megawatts of solar to be installed. These low-income multifamily housing, faith-based and community solar projects are expected to be generating electricity in 2018.