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Sterling Planet’s Solar Energy Partner Advances to Top 25 Competitors for $2.5 million in American Express Funding

Posted on 9/22/2008 by in Sustainability

Sterling Planet urges cardmembers to vote for solar lighting in Africa, receive free wind offer

ATLANTA, GA, September 22, 2008 – Sterling Planet, a leading supplier of renewable energy, energy-efficiency products and carbon solutions, today announced that a project of one of its key partners has advanced to the American Express list of the top 25 competing for $2.5 million in funding. Solar Light for Africa, which is partially funded by Sterling Planet, is a semi-finalist in Members Project, the online initiative that invites American Express cardmembers to propose, discuss and vote for projects that make a positive impact on the world.

If American Express cardholders vote Solar Light for Africa (SLA) into the top five, the nonprofit organization will receive as much as $1.5 million in American Express funding. The dollars will go to providing as many as 20,000 solar-powered LED (light emitting diode) lanterns to illuminate approximately 100,000 people in rural, war-torn regions of Sierra Leone in West Africa.

From now until midnight Monday, September 29, American Express cardmembers visiting www.voteforsolar.com can vote to shine light on Sierra Leone. If the Solar Light for Africa project is voted into the top 5 ranks, it enters the final round of voting. Ultimately, if Solar Light for Africa gets the most cardmember votes, the nonprofit organization will be awarded the top $1.5 million prize. Organizations associated with the remaining four projects will receive $500,000, $300,000 or $100,000 in funding from American Express.

To recognize support for SLA, Sterling Planet will give the first 1,000 voters a free one-month supply of wind energy in the form of Green-e Energy certified Sterling Wind™ Renewable Energy Certificates. This gift of 1,000 kilowatt-hours is valued at $18.50 and represents more than enough electricity to power the average U.S. home for a month.

“Now is the time to act,” said Mel Jones, Sterling Planet President and CEO. “We urge American Express cardholders to go to voteforsolar.com and vote to electrify, empower and help educate tens of thousands who otherwise spend half their lives in darkness. By bringing light to remote Sierra Leone villages, Solar Light for Africa will deliver hope to thousands who are less fortunate, giving them the opportunity to be more productive and more educated through nighttime studies.”

Added Jones, “Sterling Planet is proud of its long-time relationship with Solar Light for Africa. This partnership represents the company’s broad commitment to sustainable, environmentally preferable energy solutions that make a difference today, while creating a brighter future for generations to come.”

In addition to directly funding Solar Light for Africa, Sterling Planet counts among its key personnel Alden Hathaway II, a senior executive who is a founding member and serves on the board of directors of Solar Light for Africa. He and his wife, Carol, manage the 11-year-old organization’s annual projects, which call for installing solar power in rural villages across sub-Saharan Africa. Bringing light, power and solar-pumped water to some of the poorest regions of the world, the organization has installed more than 2,400 solar lighting systems in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Liberia and Ghana.

“Solar Light for Africa has the mission of transforming lives and empowering the people of Africa by providing light and energy, using the natural gift of the sun,” said Hathaway, a founder and member of the board of directors. “Now we’re thrilled by the prospect of extending our reach into Sierra Leone, whose citizens also are so deserving of a clean energy source that delivers both light and hope.”

Members Project voting is open only to American Express cardholders, but Hathaway encourages everyone to spread the word about this significant, time-sensitive funding opportunity and get out the vote. “Please tell your friends, neighbors, family members and your entire email contact list about this worthy cause, encouraging their vote and support by midnight September 29.”

After voting, American Express cardholders can contact Sterling Planet by fax to accept the offer of free wind energy. As evidence of voting for SLA, the first 1,000 voters should print-screen the top 25 Members Project list, with a star displayed beside “Solar Powered Africa – LED Lanterns Lighting the Way.” The printout, labeled “Sterling Wind™ enrollment, first month free,” should then be faxed to 678-325-3174, attention: Carol Hathaway. Enrollments may be cancelled at any time.

In addition to American Express funding, Solar Light for Africa continually seeks funding for its programs. Tax-deductible donations go to adoption of African schools, electrification of village homes and sponsorship of annual summertime youth missions to install solar systems in Africa. Funding guidelines are as follows: 1 Solar Lantern $50.00; 1-home electrification, $250; 100-home electrification, $25,000; basic lighting for a school or other public facility, $1,500; full electrification of a school (with computers, internet, video conferencing and satellite TV), $25,000. Personal donations are also accepted, and youth volunteers are encouraged to participate in the annual mission trip.

Solar Light for Africa donations are accepted at 3295 River Exchange Drive, Suite 300, Norcross, GA, 30092. Inquiries may be directed to voteforsolar@sterlingplanet.com.

About Sterling Planet
Sterling Planet delivers renewable energy, energy-efficiency products and carbon solutions on a global level. Multinational businesses, universities, government agencies, utilities and individual consumers turn to Sterling Planet for a range of sustainability tools, including Green-e certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), innovative White Tags® Energy Efficiency Certificates and Verified Emission Reductions from low-carbon sources worldwide.

Since 2000, Sterling Planet has offered certified RECs from diverse technologies such as wind, solar, biogas, landfill gas energy, biomass and small hydro. Thirteen of the nation’s top 25 renewable energy purchasers, including corporations in the top two rankings, have bought from Sterling Planet. Also served are 85 utilities, 56 colleges and universities, 156 government entities and thousands of residential customers.

Sterling Planet is building a clean energy pipeline, with more than 400 megawatts of new renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction projects now under development in North America. A U.S. EPA Climate Leaders partner and founding member of The Climate Registry, Sterling Planet adheres to sustainable business practices and has committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions from its own company operations. Awarded 2007 Renewable Energy Marketer of the Year by the U.S. Department of Energy, Sterling Planet shares the spotlight with its many customers who also have received top environmental honors for their exemplary corporate stewardship. www.sterlingplanet.com

About Solar Light for Africa
Solar Light for Africa, Ltd. (SLA) is a non-profit 501(c)3 Christian organization whose mission is to transform lives and empower the people of Africa by providing light and energy using the natural power of the sun. The SLA goal is to educate the public on the advantages of renewable energy for the benefit of impoverished communities throughout the world. Funding support for solar installations is provided through, but not limited to, Christian church outreach support, fraternal organizations, government agency grants, and corporate and individual donors.
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