Kyocera’s founder got involved with solar in 1975 because he wanted to make clean energy more affordable in developing countries, said Cecilia Aguillion, director of marketing and public affairs for Kyocera.
“He felt strongly that solar power shouldn’t just be for the wealthy,” she said.
And Kyocera was founded on the principle that solar installations could improve lives by bringing clean, renewable energy to people at affordable and predictable prices.
Chicago is far from the developing world, Aguillon said. But the new partnership with VGI is helping the solar company bring its panels to people who can really benefit from the cost savings they generate.
VGI is dedicated to finding and developing greater energy efficiencies and savings. CEO Van Vincent, who grew up in Chicago’s affordable housing facilities, has made improving living conditions and energy efficiency in those residential buildings his primary mission.
“Our housing developments aim to enhance the quality of life for each resident with programs that integrate independent lifestyles with a sense of community; utilizing solar energy to reduce the environmental footprint is a key component,” Vincent said in a statement.
VGI isn’t a solar developer, Aguillon said. Vincent aims to create as many efficiencies as possible in order to make the living environment more comfortable and desirable for the families in the apartments. Beyond that, he aims to add electricity generation so the buildings can be capable of achieving zero net energy consumption.
“What VGI is doing is great,” Aguillon said. “We visited the buildings and you don’t feel like it’s an affordable housing facility. It could be any nice condo downtown.”
She said Kyocera was a good match for VGI because it develops a complete system and VGI wouldn’t have to piece together all the elements of a solar installation.
Kyocera’s MyGen Pro installation system come complete with the solar modules, Enphase and SMA inverters, mounting systems, monitoring packages and all hardware components needed to install the systems.
Those complete kits along with Kyocera’s long history in the solar industry sold VGI on the manufacturer. VGI has installed the systems on six Chicago buildings since 2010, Aguillon said.
“The partnership fits perfectly with Kyocera’s mission to bring solar to underserved populations,” Aguillon said.