September 23, 2020

Contacts: Aur Beck, AES Solar, 618 893 1717,; Amy McMorrow Hunter, The Climate Economy Education Inc, 618 713 2896,

Local fundraiser looks to stir up community support for free solar installations at local nonprofits

Meeting crowdfunding goal of $3,000 by Oct.16 make new program eligible for more than $100,000 in additional grants

Aur “Da Energy Mon” Beck of AES Solar (AES) wants to see a solar system on every nonprofit facility in the 38 counties in the southern district of Illinois. To meet this goal, Aur is partnering with The Climate Economy Education Inc (TCE), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Together they want to help expand solar energy in southern Illinois with Coal2Sol, a unique program for getting solar installed at nonprofits at no cost to them, and educating an entire corps of local solar installers. The Coal2Sol fundraiser runs now until October 16. The goal is to raise $3,000 from community donations in a crowdfunding campaign so that Coal2Sol will have some startup funds, and also will be eligible for additional grants of up to $100,000.

Coal2Sol supporters can donate to the community crowdfunding campaign at Every dollar donated counts as a point, and supporters can also take other actions, such as completing the new “Solar Ambassador” online course and sharing social media posts, to earn additional points for their favorite nonprofit. Nonprofit organizations with the most points at the end of the fundraiser will be added at the top of the list for consideration as beneficiaries of the first solar systems.

Founded in 2009 by Aur Beck, Coal2Sol 1) trains people to install solar from areas that have been hit hardest with the coal industry closing, 2) finds local investors to provide the up-front cost of the solar system while getting them a tax deduction, and 3) installs solar systems on nonprofits at no cost to them. Aur’s partnership with The Climate Economy will set up a permanent home for Coal2Sol, develop an educational program and additional tools to install as many solar systems as possible as soon as possible.

The current fundraiser is part of USA Today’s “A Community Thrives” campaign, a nationwide grantmaking and crowdfunding initiative.

Aur said, “Solar is the way of the now, not just the future, and we are leading the way with helping people.” At least 2 solar systems, valued at $20,000 each (including labor) and donated by AES Solar, will be installed on an eligible nonprofit. If the team meets the $3,000 crowdfunding goal and wins additional grant funds, the full project’s first year would:

Install a new solar system on up to four southern Illinois nonprofit organizations at no costs to the nonprofits,

Provide scholarships for up to 100 people from underserved populations, including low-income, homeless, or recently cut loose from the fossil fuel industry, that will cover the classes, training and tools that people need to start a new job at a solar company,

Provide a new, secure and good ROI investment opportunity for local investors to support local growth, and

Set up new educational programs to educate nonprofits, investors and job-seekers about solar and the many opportunities it offers.

Supporters can join upcoming Zoom meetings for history of Coal2Sol, campaign progress and Q & A with Aur & Amy (will be livestreamed on The Climate Economy’s Facebook page). The Zoom links are available at the link above or on social media. The first Q & A is Wednesday, September 23 at 6:00 p.m., the second is Friday, September 25 at 3:00 p.m., and the third is Monday, September 28 at 6:00 p.m. More Q & A dates and times are still to be determined, and each one will last 20-30 minutes. Also coming up is the “Sol-Aur Tour – Q&A with Aur Beck,” this year’s virtual Heartland Solar Tour, on Facebook Live, October 3 at 3:00 p.m.

Amy McMorrow Hunter, President/CEO of TCE, said “It’s a win-win-win for all parties. Nonprofits get clean energy and cost savings, investors get solid investments and tax breaks and workers get education and training for jobs in a growing industry. Overall we’re helping build southern Illinois community resilience. We are happy to be working with Aur on this and hope to help spread this model far and wide.”

About AES Solar (

AES Solar’s mission is to power a sustainable economy by bringing renewable energy to America’s neighborhoods. That means lowering your energy bills and making sure you get the best incentives possible. With deep knowledge of the latest technology, tax credits, and innovations in the industry, we are able to provide your business and family with the best possible experience from start to finish, and for years to come. We empower you to get energized with renewable energy!

About The Climate Economy Education Inc (

The Climate Economy Education Inc is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for education on business models and lifestyles that are good for the climate, economy and humanity. We aim to accelerate the transformation to a clean economy by helping every individual find their niche and participate in community and global climate ventures.