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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

China's Coal Imports Drop For The First Time Since Country Became Net Coal Importer

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2014 | 3:40 PM

Co-authored by Lauri Myllyvirta, Greenpeace International

A recently published analysis compiled by Lauri Myllyvirta and Greenpeace International showed the unthinkable -- Chinese coal consumption fell for the first time this century in the first half of this year. Even more striking is the fact that China's...

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Are Mini-Grids The Next Big Opportunity Beyond The Grid?

(5) Comments | Posted September 4, 2014 | 1:14 PM

Photo courtesy of Devergy

Beyond the grid solar start-up Devergy believes the time has come for the next evolution in clean energy access markets: mini-grids.

The mini-grid systems Devergy deploys are essentially many solar home systems connected to a battery...

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Uncertainty, Rising Costs Cloud Indian Coal Sector After Landmark Supreme Court Rulings

(1) Comments | Posted August 29, 2014 | 12:07 PM


India's coal bubble is perilously close to bursting.

This week the Indian court system handed down three landmark energy rulings. While an ultimate decision still looms, the combined weight of these initial rulings reaffirms one thing -- it's time to...

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Chinese Coal Consumption Just Fell for the First Time This Century

(0) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 10:55 AM

Co Authored by Lauri Myllyvirta, Greenpeace International

Sources: Compiled from China National Bureau of Statistics and China National Coal Association statistical releases.

There may be a light at the end of the long dark tunnel: It appears China's coal boom is over.


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On the Contrary World Bank President Dr. Kim, Renewable Energy Is the Future

(1) Comments | Posted August 8, 2014 | 4:56 PM

Photo credit: SELCO India

In the 21st century, it's hard to take anyone seriously who thinks coal, not clean energy, is the future for dynamic, emerging economies.

But that's exactly what Dr. Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, did this week...

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Four Things The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Can Do For Beyond the Grid Solar

(0) Comments | Posted August 1, 2014 | 10:50 AM

All eyes will be on the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington next week with one question in mind -- will those gathered take steps to move investment beyond the grid?

Just this week, Politico reported that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former President Clinton...

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The Next Frontier For Beyond the Grid Solar Markets: Big Data

(1) Comments | Posted July 31, 2014 | 4:19 PM

When it comes to energy access, we're fond of saying small is big.

That's because all those small scale solar lanterns, solar home systems, and solar mini-grids add up to a very big market. But the size of that market, and its social impact, could...

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Why VATs on Solar Energy Hinder Progress on Energy Poverty

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2014 | 2:50 PM

Co-authored by Vrinda Manglik, International Clean Energy Access, Sierra Club
Photo courtesy of SolarAid

What difference can a value added tax make to the lives of those living in energy poverty? A big one.

Currently, many countries in sub-Saharan Africa apply a...

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'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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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


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...

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

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

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

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...

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'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


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...

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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,...

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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

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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...

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

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


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....

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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...

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