Michael Fallquist, Founder & CEO
Our recent 7 Continents in 7 Years trip confirmed my strong belief that Viridian has the power to change lives. We’ve had lots of examples of how Viridian has made a significant impact over the years (from individuals to families, local communities to global projects), and our 2014 Sustainability Report serves as a powerful reminder of what we’ve collectively accomplished. However, nothing has been more personally impactful for me than our latest efforts in Nicaragua. Simply put, Viridian is a platform to make positive change.
This year’s journey took us to the village of Platanal in Nicaragua. We were invited by the community, with our project partner GRID Alternatives, to bring solar power to approximately 40 families. We were broken up into teams of four and set off to work. I had the good fortune of working with a fantastic team which included Kenny Olson, Mike FitzPatrick and Ryan Fernandez. The next few work days were absolutely amazing as we installed complete solar systems on three homes. It was a powerful insight into a lifestyle so different from our everyday life and I was humbled by and appreciative of the reception we received from the community. We were truly welcomed into their homes as friends.
We had the unique opportunity on this trip to be hands on throughout each step of the solar installation process, from the first nail through to closing the doors and turning on the lights for the very first time. That moment, when we made the homes completely dark, and then, got to watch the reactions as the homeowner flicked the light switch on was absolutely life changing – both for me and for that family.
But, after leaving Nicaragua and returning to Connecticut, I had the ultimate realization. True, we had changed the lives of 40 families forever, however I think I personally got more from the experience. As I reflected more and more about our work, I started to realize the importance of what we are doing. We are a community of change.
Since 2009, Viridian customers have helped avoid more than five billion pounds of climate-changing CO2 from being released into the atmosphere through the use of our responsible energy products. Think about that for a moment – five billion pounds.
We knew that if we provided the opportunity for people to choose affordable, responsible energy, they would respond, but the market has been even more enthusiastic than we anticipated. We are seeing “green” energy displace brown and more coal plants taken offline. Consumer demand for solar energy is going through the roof. And Viridian’s affordable, responsible energy products are more relevant today than they were when we first formed the company in 2009.
At the same time, we have collected over 75,000 pounds of trash and done immeasurable good here at home through nearly 200 Local Change events. We’ve been to five continents and brought power to global communities with no hope of traditional, grid electrification. We’ve also created opportunities for more than 20,000 independent associates, united by the desire to do well while making a difference in the environment and in the world.
I want to thank each of you for your commitment to Generation V. You entrust us with your hopes and dreams as we work together to be agents for positive change in this wonderful world. Without you, Viridian would be a great concept without power. You put the power in purpose. And for 40 families in Nicaragua, you made that power and purpose an inspiring reality. Thank you.
My name is Michael Fallquist and I am Generation V!
In March 2015, Viridian traveled to the breathtakingly beautiful and still mostly undeveloped “Land of Lakes and Volcanoes.” To complete our most ambitious project to date, we hiked to the small agricultural community of Portrero Platanal, an off-the-grid village that’s inaccessible by car. With the help of the nonprofit organization GRID Alternatives, we were able to install clean, reliable solar systems on the homes of 40 families, bringing the opportunity for a better life to an entire community.
Donna & Kevin French
Lisa Pierre Louis
Jenna & Matt Stockwell