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Massachusetts Updates 2016 Managed Growth Allocation, Developers Still on Edge

Massachusetts solar developers breathed a sigh of relief after last week’s announcement.

Some developers of 650kW+ solar projects may get their projects built after all.

Some developers of 650kW+ solar projects may get their projects built after all.

After the initial August 26th announcement that the 2016 Managed Growth Capacity Block would be 0MW, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) opened a public comment period.  As expected, solar stakeholders expressed their concern over the 2016 allocation, citing that the DOER had projected overly ambitious growth in Market Sectors A-C. In response to these comments, DOER adjusted the 2016 Managed Growth Capacity Block allocation from 0MW to 20MW .

What is Managed Growth in Massachusetts?

The Massachusetts SREC-II Program, initiated in April, creates differentiated financial incentives for each market sector (“SREC Factor”) to level the playing field. This program makes smaller solar projects more competitive compared to larger ones by ideally giving financial preference to residential and rooftop projects (a higher SREC Factor close to 1.0) and providing less support for larger projects (ground mount, landfill or brownfield projects less than 650kW.) Previously, this program allocated 26MW and 81MW for the Managed Growth sector in 2014 and 2015 respectively.  As the legislation mandates, the reconsideration and final decision of the 2016 Managed Growth Capacity Block came from the following formula:

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Meet the Sol Systems SREC Customer Service Team

Meet the Sol Systems Customer Service (CS) Team: Sara Rafalson, Alex Mas, Victoria Ngare, and Bridget Callahan.

Seasoned SREC Operations Analyst, Bridget Callahan, provides assistance to a customer in need.

Seasoned SREC Operations Analyst, Bridget Callahan, provides assistance to a customer in need.

Together, they manage accounts for Sol Systems’ customer base of over 4,200+ solar energy system owners in thirteen states who rely on Sol Systems to sell their solar renewable energy credits (SRECs). Their responsibilities are broad, including customer management and support, tracking meter readings, and registering systems with the necessary state and regulatory agencies. Sol Systems prides itself on its superior customer service, and we get back to all customer inquiries within one business day.

While many Sol Systems customers may recognize their names, we wanted to give our SREC customer and installer base the opportunity to get to know the friendly voice on the other side of the phone. 

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Sol Systems COO & General Counsel Stephanie Smith Named C3E Award Finalist

Stephanie Smith

Stephanie Smith was named a finalist for the C3E awards.

The Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Initiative Ambassadors has named Sol Systems General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer, Stephanie Smith, as a finalist for its annual awards program for mid-career women’s leadership and achievement in clean energy. The C3E Initiative was launched in 2010 by the 23-government Clean Energy Ministerial, serving to create opportunities for women in clean energy. The Clean Energy Ministerial is a global forum encouraging the transition to a global clean energy economy through the promotion of policies, programs, and initiatives that help reduce emissions, improve energy access and security, and sustain overall economic growth.

Ms. Smith’s finalist status is an affirmation to her leadership at the D.C.-based solar finance firm, which she joined in 2012. In her tenure, Sol Systems cemented its reputation as a leader in renewable energy finance. To date, the firm has facilitated financing for approximately 145 MW of solar energy assets throughout the United States through tax structured investments, project purchases, SREC monetization, and debt financing. Just last week, Inc. Magazine named Sol Systems as one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. on its prestigious Inc. 500 list for the second consecutive year.

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3 Reasons Why a Managed SREC Solution Outperforms an Auction

Our team strongly believes that a managed SREC solution, one in which a third party such as Sol Systems executes trades in the best interest of the SREC owner, provides the customer with the highest sale price. Here’s why the managed approach works so well.

1. Aggregation

Aggregation is important because larger volume SREC transactions often result in higher prices. For example, it’s very difficult to sell 12 SRECs on any given day. However, many SREC buyers would be very interested in purchasing 1200 SRECs. The higher volume that a managed SREC solution allows improves liquidity, and results in higher pricing. Sol Systems has always passed down this higher pricing to SREC owners.

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Employee Spotlight: Ben Margolis

This month's employee spotlight features Ben Margolis from our project finance team.

This month’s employee spotlight features Ben Margolis from our project finance team.

At Sol Systems, our team is our number one asset. Their dedication and passion for bringing creative financing solutions to the solar industry are essential to our company’s success. Our company has experienced a lot of recent growth, and we are proud to employ some of the brightest talent in the renewable energy industry. We were able to sit down with Ben Margolis, who has been with Sol Systems for a little over a year and serves as a Director of Project Finance, to hear about his experience.

Has Sol Systems changed since you first started here?

Since I started, we’ve added construction and term debt for solar projects, and we have grown the project finance group and project finance offerings; change in market place has shifted our approach to the market and forced us to adapt, and it’s all been very interesting to be a part of.

What attracted you to work at Sol Systems?

The people. Sol Systems is a great place to work because of the team; it’s exciting and interesting. As a company, Sol Systems has the right people and the right team and is well positioned in the marketplace to succeed.

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Sol Systems to Speak at Intersolar North America in San Francisco

intersolar picSeveral members of the Sol Systems team will attend the Intersolar North America conference in San Francisco next week from July 7-9. Sol Systems’ CFO, George Ashton will share Sol Systems’ experiences financing commercial solar projects on the panel entitled The DG Future – the ITC, Cost-cutting & Positioning Yourself for Ever Changing Incentive Regimes. To date, Sol Systems has facilitated financing for approximately 100 MW of solar projects throughout the United States and has another 84 MW at term sheet. Sol Systems finances DG solar projects through a combination of its tax structured investments, construction and term debt offerings, project purchases, and solar renewable energy credit (SREC) solutions.

Several members of the Sol Systems team will be in San Francisco to meet with developer clients to discuss their solar financing needs. To meet with Sol Systems in San Francisco, please contact our team at info@solsystemscompany.com.

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Sol Systems Welcomes Summer Interns

Sol Systems welcomes four interns for the summer.

Sol Systems is excited to welcome, from left to right, Erica Nangeroni, Rachel Charow, Thomas Kinrade, Aaditya Saple, and Julia Heckmann (not pictured).

At Sol Systems, our number one asset is our team. We are proud of our internship program which provides young people with an opportunity to launch a career in renewable energy. This summer, we are excited to welcome Rachel Charow, Julia Heckmann, Thomas Kinrade, Erica Nangeroni, and Aaditya Saple to our team.

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Sol Systems to Speak at PV America Conference in Boston

Sol Systems will speak at the PV America 2014 Conference in Boston.

Sol Systems will speak at the PV America 2014 Conference in Boston.

The Sol Systems team will attend the PV America 2014 Conference in Boston, MA next week from June 23-25. Sol Systems’ CEO, Yuri Horwitz is the conference’s finance chair this year and will speak on a panel entitled The Future of Solar Financing & Challenges Ahead at 1:30 PM in room 153. Sol Systems will also host a cocktail reception with Hannon Armstrong, our partner on a $100 million solar debt fund that addresses financing challenges in the commercial and industrial (C&I) solar sector.

Several members of the Sol Systems team will be in Boston meeting with developer and investor clients. To meet with Sol Systems in Boston, please contact our team at info@solsystemscompany.com.

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New Jersey’s PSE&G’s Second Solar Loan III Solicitation is Coming. Here’s What You Need to Know.

The Public Service Electric and Gas Company of New Jersey (PSE&G) will begin accepting applications in less than a month, on February 25, for its Solar Loan program. While no major changes have occurred since the first solicitation late last year, data is now available on pricing from the first round of applications and awards.

The first solicitation of New Jersey’s PSE&G Solar Loan III program began last year and closed the period on November 12th, 2013.  The program provides loans that make up significant portions of project construction costs (see an example here). The loans can be repaid through SRECs, with payment plans set at the closing of the loan. Cash can also be used to pay in case of low production. Once the loan has been paid in full, any SRECs produced thereafter belong to the owner of the system. The following capacities are available per each program segment:

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 4.58.39 PM

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Sun Still Rising on Residential Solar

We still see tremendous potential in commercial and industrial (C&I solar), but we’re also bullish on residential solar.

We still see tremendous potential in commercial and industrial (C&I solar), but we’re also bullish on residential solar.

There is much evidence pointing to a rosy future for residential solar.  High retail utility rates provide a compelling reason for homeowners to go solar while residential installation costs continue to drop.  Many of our partners claim that residential system development is more profitable than commercial development. Even solar developers that historically led the commercial and utility sectors are taking strides to enter the residential space.

In late 2013, SolarCity, successfully securitized cash flows from a portfolio of solar assets, accessing capital from the public markets via a $54 million bond offering. SolarCity accomplished the securitization milestone at a rate of 4.8%, and other solar companies may follow with perhaps even lower rates. Solar asset securitization deepens the pool of capital while cheapening the cost of capital. Meanwhile, SolarCity’s stock price has skyrocketed since its IPO a year ago, and new IPOs may be on the horizon for SunRun, Clean Power Finance, and Vivint Solar.

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Employee Spotlight: Andrew Gilligan

At Sol Systems, we realize that our work is a reflection of who we are as individuals, and our success is a direct result of all the different personalities, passions, and talents that your employees bring to the table. Our team has expanded significantly in the last few years, and we are proud to employ some of the brightest talent in the renewable energy industry. On this employee highlight we have Andrew Gilligan, Senior Associate at Sol Systems:

This month’s employee spotlight features Andrew Gilligan from our investor advisory services team.

This month’s employee spotlight features Andrew Gilligan from our investor advisory services team.

What is your current position at Sol Systems?

I am a Senior Associate and help to lead our Investor Advisory Group. As part of this team, I assist renewable energy investors across the United States to successfully deploy capital into solar projects.

How has Sol Systems changed since you first started at the firm?

Since I started with Sol Systems in early 2011, the firm has undergone a lot of changes. Back then, we were a small start-up company only offering SREC solutions. Today, we have evolved to become a financial services firm that can help with any part of the capital stock for projects in all relevant US solar markets.

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Sol Systems’ Financing Partnership with Washington Gas Featured in Washington Business Journal

Sol Systems’ partnership with Washington Gas was featured in the Washington Business Journal.

Sol Systems’ partnership with Washington Gas was featured in the Washington Business Journal.

The Washington Business Journal recently featured our financing partnership with Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc. on three new solar projects in Hawaii, Maryland, and Sol Systems’ hometown, Washington, D.C.  Sol Systems served as an investment advisor to Washington Gas Energy Systems for these projects, assisting in project origination, due diligence, negotiation, and deal structuring before ultimately guiding these projects to financial close.

Washington Gas Energy Systems will build, own and operate three more new solar projects, at the KIPP School in the District, Presbyterian Senior Living Services in Glen Arm, Md. and the Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii.

The projects will come online under 20-year power purchase agreements. Sol Systems is Washington Gas Energy Systems’ investment advisor, lining up third party financing.

The cost of the projects was not disclosed.

KIPP School will get a 227-kilowatt roof array. Presbyterian Senior Living Services will have a 1,320- kilowatt ground-mounted system, and Turtle Bay Resort will have a 402-kilowatt roof mounted system.

Read the full article from the Washington Business Journal here.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. To date, the company has arranged financing for thousands of projects and facilitated hundreds of millions in investment on behalf of Fortune 100 companies, private equity, family offices and individuals.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

California’s AB 327 Proposes Changes to Current Rate Structures, Protects Net Energy Metering (NEM)

AB 327 proposes giving the CPUC authority to change rate structures and extends net energy metering (NEM) policy in California.

After being passed by the California Senate, the controversial net energy metering (NEM) and rate structure bill AB 327 was passed by the California Assembly earlier this month. The bill now awaits Governor Jerry Brown’s signature before it becomes law. In its current form, AB 327 aims to give the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) the ability to flatten tiered rate structures for residential consumers, and pass a tariff of no more than $10 on rate payers to finance fixed transmission and distribution costs faced by utilities. While initially a step back for distributed solar, in its final version, the bill also includes an extension of  California’s NEM policy – slated to reach the end of its life at the end of 2014 at the latest – to July 1, 2017. The new NEM policy would allow CPUC to mandate utilities to acquire more than 33 percent of their power from renewable energy sources, as opposed to the current ceiling of “up to” 33 percent.

Initially, AB 327 was painted as the bill that could stymie solar growth in California. Solar advocates stood in opposition to the bill because flattened rate structures could negatively impact rooftop solar. Coupled with the end of NEM in 2014, flat rates could spell a major slowdown in the growth of residential solar. Utilities have argued for flattened rate structures, coupled with a monthly flat fee for all customers, saying that it would help meet growing energy needs, especially for those heavily burdened by energy costs. But after solar advocates and others included the extension of NEM in the bill, AB 327 has been transformed into the bill that could foster continued growth in the industry for years to come.

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Washington Gas Energy Systems to Build, Own and Operate Three New Solar Projects Across the Nation through Financing Partnership with Sol Systems

Solar Arrays Will Power Turtle Bay Resort in Hawaii, the KIPP School in Washington, D.C., and Presbyterian Senior Living Services in Maryland.

Washington Gas Solar Project Financed with Sol Systems

Sol Systems is proud to announce the successful financing of mid-sized commercial solar projects in Hawaii, Maryland, and D.C. These projects were financed through a partnership with our investor client, Washington Gas Energy Systems.

McLean, Va. – Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc. has announced that it has contracted to build, own and operate three new solar arrays through a financing partnership with Sol Systems. The photovoltaic systems will power the Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii, the KIPP School in Washington, D.C., and Presbyterian Senior Living Services in Glen Arm, Md. Washington Gas Energy Systems will own and operate the solar systems under 20-year power purchase agreements. Sol Systems acted as an investment advisor to Washington Gas Energy Systems for these projects, which bring the organizations access to clean, solar electricity through third-party financing.

“We commend the KIPP School, Turtle Bay Resort and Presbyterian Senior Living Services for their environmental stewardship and we are pleased to be partnering with Sol Systems,” said Sanjiv Mahan, Vice President of Business Development at Washington Gas Energy Systems. “This strategic project portfolio strengthens our existing footprint in key regions throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C., while expanding our portfolio into strong solar states like Hawaii, giving us a true nationwide presence.”

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Sol Systems’ Growth Highlighted in the Washington Business Journal

Sol Systems' success was recently highlighted in the Washington Business Journal.

Sol Systems’ growth and recent project finance successes were highlighted in Friday’s Washington Business Journal.

The Washington Business Journal recently highlighted the growth of our staff and the recent success of Sol Systems’ project finance business.

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Sol Systems to Speak at Novogradac’s Financing Renewable Energy Conference in San Francisco

SanFran

The Financing Renewable Energy Conference will be held in San Francisco, California.

Sol Systems CEO Yuri Horwitz and Dan Yonkin, Director of Tax Equity, will be attending the upcoming Novogradac Financing Renewable Energy Conference in San Francisco. The event will be held April 24-25th and will include dozens of expert speakers and hundreds of renewable finance professionals. Yuri, our CEO and co-founder, will be featured on Wednesday the 24th in a panel titled “Searching for the Lowest Cost of Capital,” sharing his expertise on securing investment in the growing and complex green energy industry. Yuri will join executives from Deutsche Bank, Clean Power Finance, and other financing institutions to discuss the potential and viability of debt financing through asset-backed securities, master limited partnerships and even a federal production tax credit for solar energy.

Sol Systems offers investors a diverse range of opportunities to deploy capital in the renewable energy asset class. Our team originates project opportunities from our national network, conducts thorough due diligence of each projects, structures and negotiates complex tax transactions, and manages the asset post-closing to maximize each project’s cash and tax benefits.

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Sol Systems Speaks at the American Solar Energy Society Conference in Baltimore

ASESheader

Sol Systems CFO and co-founder, George Ashton, will be attending SOLAR 2013, an annual conference held by the American Solar Energy Society. This is the 42nd installment of the event, and will be held April 16-20 at the Baltimore Convention Center. George will be participating in a 90-minute panel discussion titled “Financing DG Projects,” where he will speak alongside Rich Deutschmann of Ameresco, Chris Lord of Capiron, and Steve Remen of GroSolar.  The panel will be held on Wednesday, April 17th, from 1 PM until 2:30 PM and will focus on funding distributed generation installations.

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Sol Systems Issues Call for Solar Projects – New Project Finance Platform Now Has $400 Million in Available Funding

Sol Systems Issues Call for Solar Projects – New Project Finance Platform Now Has $400 Million in Available Funding

Washington, DC: September 14, 2011 – Less than two weeks after launch, Sol Systems is proud to announce that its new solar finance platform, SolMarket, has increased from $350 million in available investment dollars to $400 million.  In addition, reception by solar installers and developers across the country has been overwhelmingly positive.  SolMarket’s network now includes over 180 companies and 300 users.

SolMarket is a financing platform that will catalyze investment in solar energy projects nationwide by transforming how solar projects are financed.  SolMarket provides investors and developers with the tools they need to efficiently originate, evaluate, finance, and construct renewable energy projects.  It provides a standardized origination platform, a document library, modeling software, and a standardized document suite.  SolMarket will also offer developers group purchase discounts for solar modules and other equipment.  There are no costs for developers to participate in SolMarket.

“We talk to hundreds of solar developers about prospective commercial and utility-scale projects, and unfortunately, many of these solar projects are never built due to an inability to efficiently locate financing,” said Yuri Horwitz, CEO of Sol Systems.  “We have created SolMarket to help drive efficiencies into the solar market and connect investors and developers effectively.  SolMarket will reduce the cost of financing transactions and enhance the tempo of solar project development.”

SolMarket is currently seeking projects ranging from 50 kW to multi-megawatts in size.  Solar developers are encouraged to submit their projects prior to September 30th, when investors will get their first look at projects.  Projects entered prior to this date increase their visibility and the likelihood of getting included in the investors’ 2011 portfolios.

Sol Systems invites interested solar developers to attend a SolMarket webinar, hosted every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday during the month of September at 2 pm EST.  For more information, please email info@solmarket.com or visit www.solmarket.com.

About Sol Systems

SolMarket is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sol SystemsSol Systems is a Washington D.C. based solar finance firm, and the largest solar renewable energy credit (SREC) aggregator in the nation, with over 2,300 customers and over 20 MW of solar capacity under management.  Through its SREC offerings, it has promoted the development of the solar market by providing long-term financing options for SRECs, facilitating over $100 million in solar development.

Contact:

Ms. Sudha Gollapudi, Director of Strategic Partnerships

info@solmarket.com

888-765-1115 x1

Maryland & DC Promote Solar Thermal through SREC Markets

Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) markets are comprised almost entirely of solar photovoltaic generators. However, recent legal changes offer opportunities for solar thermal developers to participate in two of the country’s most lucrative programs.

As a background, a solar renewable energy credit is a tradable commodity like a carbon credit. However, unlike carbon credits, an SREC signifies the environmental attributes associated with 1 MWH of electricity, or its thermal equivalent, produced by a solar energy generator.

The value of an SREC is derived by a state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). A RPS is a state-specific statute dictating that certain percentage electricity must come from renewable energy generators. Thirty-one states within the US have RPS statutes on the books. Of these thirty-one states, seven require a percentage of the renewable electricity production come from solar energy technologies (i.e. solar carve-out). These seven states also define a Solar Alternative Compliance Penalty (SACP), or the penalty a regulated utility or energy supplier must pay if they fail to acquire the dictated number of SRECs to meet the RPS. For example, energy suppliers in MD and DC must surrender $400.00 and $500.00, respectively, for each SREC they fail to acquire to meet the solar carve out defined within the RPS. The SACP functions as the price ceiling for an SREC market.

Currently, only a very small number of solar thermal generators participate in these SREC markets, because until recently solar thermal generators did not meet the definitional requirements of a solar energy generator within RPS statutes. However this is changing.

The SREC landscape for solar thermal generators is now open for system owners in MD and DC. Effective January 1, 2012, the Maryland RPS will allow solar thermal generators to earn SRECs. To earn SRECs in Maryland the following conditions must be met: (1) the system must be installed on or after June 1, 2011, (2) if the system is residentially owned, the facility must meet the Solar Rating & Certification Corporation’s (SRCC) OG-300 standards, (3) if the facility is commercially owned, the components installed must meet the SRCC’s OG-100 standards and an OIML certified meter must be installed to measure generation at the facility, and (4) the facility must be located within Maryland. To participate in the DC SREC market, (1) residentially owned systems must meet the SRCC OG-300 standards, (2) commercially owned systems must utilize components that meet the SRCC’s OG-100 standards and have an OIML meter installed to measure generation, and (3) pending new legislation, the facility must be located within the District.

In light of these recent legal changes, solar thermal developers can now participate in two lucrative SREC markets. In 2015 alone, the Maryland SREC market alone will have a ceiling value of over $100 million. Or, put another way, more than 195 MW-eq. of new compliance appetite is legislated in DC and MD over the next 3 years. To learn more about SREC options available to you, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com. As the country’s oldest and largest SREC aggregator, we can craft the solution that is right for you.

Kids Learn about Solar Energy Through Show-and-Tell

Sol Systems’ valued customer, Phil Hostetter, recently had an interesting version of show-and-tell at his home in Sterling, Virginia, with twelve 4th and 5th graders from Guilford Elementary School. Phil, who has a 4.05 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system, gave a tour of his eco-friendly home, which also has a hybrid trombe wall and a solar hot water system . Phil and his wife Stephanie became interested in solar energy during the 1980’s and decided to build a passive solar home, with the idea that it would go solar electric as soon as possible. Although the house was completed in 1986, their initial plans to add PV panels to their home were delayed until 2009. The financial help from tax credits and the current SREC benefits he receives greatly contributed to the execution of the project.

When Phil heard about the environmental club at nearby Guilford Elementary School, he conceived the idea of the show-and-tell as a way to share his enthusiasm for solar and other green technologies and to inspire young students to take an interest in environment issues. The environmental club members had been learning about sustainable living for quite some time. Phil briefly described the process of the system to them but remarks, “The kids definitely knew a lot. They knew how it worked and could recognize many features of the system.” The club practices composting and cultivates a vegetable garden at the school. (Phil and Stephanie donated vegetable and flower seedlings from their greenhouse.) Club members also sell some of the harvest to raise money for the school and are thinking of doing some sort of solar installation in the near future.

Phil received numerous thank you notes and illustrations of his house. “We got a great response from the tour. I’m pleased they took the time to write thank you notes.” We at Sol Systems enjoyed the letters and wanted to share with our other customers. It is without a doubt important to educate the youth of the importance of sustainable living with a limited number of resources in the world. We hope this article and the letters posted below inspire our other customers to host similar events for local school children. Thank you, Phil, for sharing your story, and for continuing to spread the knowledge!

Thank you notes from students at Guilford Elementary School