Helios Georgia: Why Go Solar with Thy Neighbor?

Covid-19 is not the only pandemic we’re fighting: according to recent studies, loneliness is another global “illness” that threatens us all. Dr. Vivek Murthy, former Surgeon General of the United States, wrote earlier this year that “Loneliness and weak social connections are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day”. The cigarette comparison makes it clear, leading us to the realization that we should all be committing to our social connections, leaning on them a little more for our wellbeing, emotional or otherwise. This does not only apply to our personal everyday lives, but also to solving the problem of loneliness” it can be argued that individuals and parties in different sectors should encourage social relations and strive to make their businesses more communal.

Founded in 2017 to employ the use of solar energy, Helios Georgia is a company that adapts its operations to general ideas that can improve society. The business was built on the idea of freedom: allowing each citizen in Georgia to be energy independent. Now the company has taken a step further to serve the Georgian community by introducing community solar energy to the country: solar power plants whose electricity can be shared by more than one property.

Helios Georgia’s community solar has one main goal: to allow as many members of a community as possible to use the benefits of solar power even if they are not able to install solar panels on their own roofs or their general property. To date, everyone in Georgia who wished to go solar had but one option: install a private PV station for themselves. With community solar, a few members of the community can now share a joint solar power source, minimizing the cost of the plant’s installation as they divide it among themselves, while also reducing or completely eliminating electricity bill. Let’s also not forget that going solar means you are playing your part in building a sustainable future for your local and global communities.

Company founder Tornike Darjania, who thanks to his self-installed PV station has not paid for electricity for four years now, sees community solar not only as a way for people who do not own a property/roof space to go solar, but as a way for people to (re)connect. Helios Georgia has just finished its first community solar project in the country: two neighbors now have a shared, sustainable alternative source of energy. They have both long wanted to make a sustainable change and switch to solar energy, but they were not able to afford it alone. Cutting costs and being responsible towards the environment together establishes a stronger sense of integrity among the neighbors. It is as if they now own a shared vineyard: they both look after it and as the time of the harvest comes, they do it side by side, sharing even the benefits.

“We’d like to imagine this starts a chain reaction,” Darjania says. “As a stronger sense of the importance and the power of sharing is established by the two neighbors, more members of their neighborhood join in, installing community solar and building a stronger, energy independent community.”

In the post-pandemic world, priorities have changed, especially our need to cut costs and tighten social connections. We can do both, plus care for our planet, by taking up Helios Georgia’s initiative, and together with our neighbors go community solar.

By Nini Dakhundaridze

17 September 2020 16:05