Sandra Kwak: Solar as the Backbone for a New Economy - in Haiti and Beyond [Ep. 34]

“Solar is the backbone of an economy.” - Sandra Kwak


In this episode of Next Economy Now, Erin Axelrod, a Partner at LIFT Economy, interviews Sandra Kwak, Founder and CEO of 10 Power, a woman-owned company that finances renewable energy in developing communities.


Sandra and Erin discuss the opportunities of bringing solar to countries like Haiti - where the most recent Hurricane Matthews has caused an extraordinary amount of devastation and destruction and yet where there is so much potential to build a regenerative economy leveraging cutting edge renewable energy technology.


As you’ll hear, Sandra is enthusiastic about the promise of solar, especially for the potential it offers to communities who are currently lacking access to electricity. For these countries, it offers a way to modernize in a more efficient, cost effective, and sustainable manner than what fossil fuels have offered since the dawn of the industrial revolution.


In this interview, Erin and Sandra discuss a number of topics, including:

  • How “third-party financing” spurred the adoption of solar in the US, and how 10 Power is leveraging that to springboard adoption of solar in Haiti.

  • Why solar is the backbone of a local, living economy

  • The importance of building ownership. The 10 Power model fosters local ownership of the companies and all installations are done via a pay-to-own model.

  • Why fossil fuels are “not a good investment anymore.”

  • The importance of the divestment movement - the largest movement to divest from fossil fuels in financial history.

  • Gender equality as a key element that is driving 10 power’s business model


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Erin Axelrod is a Partner at LIFT Economy, helping to accelerate the spread of climate-beneficial businesses, specializing in businesses that address critical soil and water regeneration. She is a shepherdess, indigo farmer and regularly forages for wild food in her home in rural Sonoma County. LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life. You can follow Erin on Twitter @erinaxelrod or email her