iOS app Android app

Justin Guay
GET UPDATES FROM Justin Guay
 
Justin Guay is a Washington Representative for the Sierra Club. Based in Washington D.C., he focuses on energy lending reform at International Financial Institutions and global efforts to transition energy systems beyond coal. In his previous position at the Sierra Club, Justin lived and worked in Mumbai, where he collaborated with Indian NGOs and for-profit companies to develop a model of clean energy distribution in rural areas.

Entries by Justin Guay

'Pay-as-you-go' solar financing hits new milestone

(0) Comments | Posted July 22, 2014 | 10:47 AM

We've said it before and we'll say it again: pay-as-you-go solar is the future for those working beyond the grid.

From Pakistan to Kenya, anecdotal reports have trickled in that pay-as-you-go solar finance -- the off-grid solar market's version of a "solar lease" -- is...

Read Post

Sierra Club and Center for American Progress premier solar documentary using Google Glass

(0) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 11:15 AM

Co-authored with Vrinda Manglik, Sierra Club

Today, the Sierra Club and Center for American Progress (CAP) debuted a new documentary that highlights the vital role off-grid solar power is playing around the world, particularly in developing areas like Uttar Pradesh, India.

By using Google Glass, Sierra Club and CAP were able to capture the life-transforming power off-grid solar energy has had in Uttar Pradesh. Through the eyes of Google Glass and traditional filming equipment, Justin Guay and Vrinda Manglik of the Sierra Club and Andrew Satter of CAP not only saw solar panels being installed, but they talked to the very people whose lives have been transformed by solar power.

All this week we've been releasing behind the scenes footage of our journey in anticipation of the launch of our documentary. You can check out our videos on Twitter using the hashtag #PutSolarOnIt or by clicking here.

Make sure you check out our documentary, "Harnessing the Sun to Keep the Light on in India" and take action to help alleviate global energy...

Read Post

Selling Solar in India Through the Lens of Google Glass

(0) Comments | Posted July 14, 2014 | 11:34 AM

Co-authored by Vrinda Manglik, Sierra Club

Solar power is the key to ending energy poverty.

No, this isn't some out-of-touch Silicon Valley pipe dream. Innovative companies like Simpa Networks and OMC power are pioneering new energy models for rural populations that deliver everything from LED lightbulbs and Skinny Grids to off-grid Wi-Fi to pay-as-you-go solar home systems.

To better understand how they empower people, the Sierra Club and Center for American Progress (CAP) teamed up to document their efforts in a hotbed of off-grid solar activity: Uttar Pradesh, India. We brought along a pair of Google Glass to document our travel and give the world a first-hand look at our global distributed energy future.

If there's one thing we learned about their efforts, it's this: small is big.

All those small-scale solar home systems and mini-grids these companies are building add up to a whopping $12 billion energy market potential. Even more exciting, this market is already booming. From 80,000 solar home systems installed every month in Bangladesh, to a 95 percent compound annual growth rate in Sub-Saharan Africa's off-grid solar market, it's easy to see why investment is rapidly growing.

But, despite all this growth, public institutions have still not stepped up to provide the investment these companies require to truly scale their efforts. Perhaps the lone exception to this rule is President Obama's exciting new "Beyond the Grid" initiative, but even that is not enough. That's why entrepreneurs are demanding $500 million to catalyze faster growth from leading development institutions like the World Bank.

But lost amidst growth rates and investments is the human story yearning to be told.

From Mathura to Atroli, solar power has helped transform the lives of countless Indians. In Mathura, we met farmers who have saved untold amounts of money by switching from expensive kerosene lamps to inexpensive solar power. We met rural shopkeepers who are now able to stay open later in the evenings, which means more money in their pockets. And we met rural seamstresses who now use cleaner, cheaper solar lighting when they weave India's famous saris.

But perhaps the most poignant moment was when we heard from Vishal Shukla, a local villager who now lives and works in Delhi for a non-profit organization, about the effect solar energy has had on his daughter's lives. When he was growing up, Vishal didn't have reliable light to study by in the evenings, and he struggled with his education. Fast forward to 2014, and Vishal's daughters now enjoy cheaper, cleaner solar LED lighting that helps them study at night. Thanks to solar lamps, his daughters now have a brighter future, both literally and figuratively.

This is a testament to the immediate and transformative effect even small amounts of clean energy can have on people's lives. By leapfrogging the dirty, ineffective centralized energy grid that has failed these rural populations for decades, companies are building an entirely new system, one which puts power directly in the hands of the people.

To see more of the effect solar is having on the lives of people like Vishal follow #PutSolarOnIt on Twitter as the Sierra Club and CAP release behind-the-scenes footage of our trip all this week. Then on Thursday, join us for the world premiere of our documentary, "Harnessing the Sun to Keep Lights on in India," and see why solar truly is the key to ending energy...

Read Post

Off-Grid, Clean Energy Access Market Valued at $12 Billion

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 12:24 PM

One in five people around the world, approximately 1.3 billion people, lack access to electricity.

Today, the Sierra Club is releasing a new report -- "Clean Energy Services For All (CES4All)" -- showing that off-grid clean energy is the right tool for the energy access...

Read Post

The ADB's Dirty Little Coal Secret

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2014 | 3:10 PM

Co-authored by Aviva Imhof, The Sunrise Project Australia

2014-06-19-ADBnocoal.jpg

Lurking beneath the Asian Development Bank (ADB)'s clean energy exterior is a dirty secret: Despite their promises to bring clean energy in the Asia-Pacific region, ADB continues to be a supporter of dirty coal projects...

Read Post

Four Lessons Pakistan's Off-Grid Solar Market Can Teach the World

(0) Comments | Posted June 16, 2014 | 3:41 PM

Co-authored with Vrinda Manglik, Associate Campaign Representative, International Clean Energy Access

2014-06-16-PhotocourtesyofEcoEnergy.JPG
Photo courtesy of EcoEnergy

When it comes to the off-grid solar market, the South Asian countries you normally hear about are India and Bangladesh. One is home to the largest potential market...

Read Post

'Pay-As-You-Go' Solar Companies Win National Geographic Terra Watt Prize

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 12:32 PM

Co-authored with Vrinda Manglik, Associate Campaign Representative, International Clean Energy Access

2014-06-12-NatGeo2.jpg

Just as solar leasing from the likes of SolarCity unlocked the solar market in the U.S., pay as you go solar providers are unlocking solar power for the masses worldwide.

That's a...

Read Post

President Obama and Private Investors Move $1 Billion Beyond the Grid

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 3:46 PM

Co-authored by Vrinda Manglik

For a while it seemed as though the Power Africa Initiative was more about powering oil and gas profits than delivering energy access to those that need it most. However, thanks to recent bipartisan leadership in the House of Representatives,...

Read Post

Modi's Solar Lining?

(8) Comments | Posted June 4, 2014 | 4:26 PM

Co-authored by Vrinda Manglik

Narendra Modi has secured India's prime minister position with a sweeping mandate.

What that mandate will bring is an open question. Many have serious concerns about Modi's human rights record in Gujarat, while environmentalists worry about his administration's desire to speed environmental clearances for

Read Post

An Off-Grid Solar Angels List?

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2014 | 3:16 PM

Co-authored by Vrinda Manglik

Finance, finance, finance. That's the number one obstacle between where our energy market is today and where we need it to be: clean energy services for all 1.2 billion people currently without energy access around the world.

But to deploy this finance, we need to...

Read Post

Will SunFunder Unlock $1 Billion in Off-Grid Solar Venture Debt?

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 10:13 AM

2014-05-28-Solar_001.JPG

In a recent piece on early stage cleantech investing, Rob Day of Black Coral Capital had some excellent advice - look beyond traditional venture capital.

It turns out that is sound advice for off-grid solar companies as well....

Read Post

China's Thirst for Coal Is Drying Up

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 1:58 PM

Co-authored by Fang Lifeng, Greenpeace East Asia

As the "airpocalypse" news out of China continues to grow, what we predicted more than a year ago is now increasingly obvious -- China's seemingly endless coal demand is a myth, and the Chinese coal boom is...

Read Post

Turkish Coal Tragedy Puts Emphasis on Transition to Clean Energy

(0) Comments | Posted May 15, 2014 | 11:51 AM

In what's being deemed the worst mining disaster in Turkey's history, more than 240 miners have been killed and countless more are still missing following a power transformer explosion that triggered a blazing underground fire at a Soma Komur Isletmeleri mine in Western Turkey.

In the hours following the devastating...

Read Post

TiEcon Takes On Clean Energy For All

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 4:25 PM

2014-05-12-solar_panels_construction.jpg

New solar panels being constructed. Photo courtesy of Vrinda Manglik.

Co-authored with Vrinda Manglik, Associate Campaign Representative, International Clean Energy Access

Entrepreneurs are going green to support global development.

The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) is a non-profit network of entrepreneurs and professionals headquartered...

Read Post

Indonesian Community Leaders Arrested For Coal Activism

(0) Comments | Posted May 9, 2014 | 5:26 PM

Co-authored with Nicole Ghio, Sierra Club International Climate Program

As two community leaders fighting the Batang coal plant in Indonesia begin their seven month prison sentence this week in Indonesia, thousands of coal activists activists are protesting in solidarity.

In what is viewed as punishment for...

Read Post

New Ads Reveal Coal Isn't Cheap in Kosovo

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2014 | 2:04 PM

Co-authored with Jeta Xharra, editor in chief of Kosovo's current affairs TV program 'Life in Kosovo'

People across Kosovo are banding together to save lives. 825 lives, to be exact. That's the number of Kosovars the World Bank estimates die every year due to pollution from coal-fired power...

Read Post

$45 Million Flows to Off-Grid Solar in Past Four Months

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2014 | 1:54 PM

2014-05-02-woman_with_panel.jpg

The off-grid solar market is booming. From Tower Power to pay-as-you-go solar, previously untapped clean energy markets are being unlocked by innovative businesses. Now, investors are sitting up and taking notice. In just the past four months,...

Read Post

IFC Won't Support Expansion of Disastrous Tata Mundra Project

(0) Comments | Posted May 1, 2014 | 2:32 PM

This post was co-authored by Nicole Ghio, Sierra Club International Climate Program

image from http://s3.amazonaws.com/hires.aviary.com/k/mr6i2hifk4wxt1dp/14050115/86b0e240-ebec-45c3-89c3-346ecba37563.png

Read Post

Bullets Can't Stop India's Heroes

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2014 | 5:17 PM

Indian economic development is at a critical juncture. From slowing economic growth to the depreciating rupee to widespread disgust with rampant corruption, India's current model has failed to provide a realistic, prosperous future for its people. But another darker story is unfolding across the country, as local communities have been...

Read Post

Women, Energy Access, and India's Elections

(0) Comments | Posted April 23, 2014 | 5:16 PM

Co-authored with Vrinda Manglik, Associate Campaign Representative, International Clean Energy Access

The world's largest democracy is holding its elections, and the result will have big implications for the future of Indian energy policy.

By May 12, an expected 815 million voters -- the equivalent to the combined...

Read Post