Press Release

Environmental Law & Policy Center Congratulates Solar Hack Winner

Environmental Law & Policy Center Congratulates Solar Hack Winner
“Smart Card” Incentivizes Smart Energy Choices, Increases Solar Awareness

CHICAGO – A team combining the know-how of three Chicago technology veterans, the strategy of a LEED certified attorney, and the entrepreneurial spirit of an energy company executive took top honors in Chicago’s first hackathon dedicated to solving challenges facing the solar energy business. Team Smart Card will launch a business to advance clean energy by rewarding smart energy choices.

“Our new venture combines the fun and engagement of gaming with the economics and environmental aspects of being a smart consumer of energy,” said Mark Rice, a member of Team Smart Card and CEO of Energy Connection in Northbrook.

Environmental Law & Policy Center’s Solar Hack coupled members of Chicago’s bustling technology and design communities, with members of the region’s solar energy businesses to brainstorm and advance ideas that would solve soft-challenges like customer education and lead generation. The goal of the event was to advance digital tools that could create the foundation of a business, advancing ELPC’s pillar that environmental progress and economic development go hand-in-hand.

By winning the event, Team Smart Card secured a spot in the City of Chicago’s Clean Web Challenge where they will compete with winning entries from similar events held by groups including World Business Chicago and the Center for Neighborhood Technology.

Creating an online space that aggregates data on smart energy choices, Smart Card allows for competition between users to be “more green.” Additionally by connecting companies with customers who make sustainable choices, Smart Card can reward these choices. Finally, through dashboard prompts, Smart Cart users can learn about opportunities to go solar and connect with solar installers in their area.

“Working in solar energy, the idea of having high value, well-educated leads is very appealing,” said Lisa Albrecht of Solar Service, and advisor to the event.

More than 30 participants registered to be a part of Solar Hack and were introduced to challenges facing solar energy, and to public datasets that may be used to address these challenges. The winning team comprised Rice, developer/designer Andy Babbitt, developers Rob Laucius and Nathan Witt and attorney W. Brandon Rogers.

“Solar Hack was a great step in using technology to advance clean, renewable energy here in Chicago and across the Midwest,” said David Jakubiak, media relations manager with ELPC. “We hope more great tools will grow out of the interest stimulated by Solar Hack.”

Solar Hack was sponsored by SunRun and supported through partnerships with the Illinois Institute of Technology’s IdeaShop and the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, CO.