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Bright Ideas for the Economy and Environment

For Chris Fraga, the bottom line is more than just profit. The founder and CEO of SolarSense, a family of businesses that develops distributed generation, renewable, and alternative energy projects for commercial for profit and not-for-profit enterprises, deeply values being socially and environmentally responsible.

It's a debate dating back decades - can a modern company be both financially successful as well as socially and environmentally friendly?
Chris "Chip" Fraga says the answer is in, and it is a definitive yes.
Fraga, a 22-year veteran of start-ups and large companies alike, is the founder and CEO of the SolarSense family of businesses, a group that develops distributed generation, renewable and alternative energy projects for commercial for profit and not-for-profit enterprises throughout the mid-Atlantic and Northeast region.

Since March 2010, SolarSense has created eight companies, secured equity and debt financing for seed capital and project financing, and developed a $320 million pipeline of renewable/alternative energy projects. But even with all that accomplished in just over a year, SolarSense instituted its "Watts for Wishes" charitable donation program, which connects the energy sector to The Make-A-Wish Foundation to fund wish-children's wishes.
Fraga calls his innovative business model "solar on demand." The offering eliminates the need for customers to come up with large amounts of capital for initial investments. At the same time, SolarSense drives down the cost of electricity for clients by up to 40 percent.
To make all this possible, Fraga has taken advantage of a series of government programs. SolarSense makes use of a 30 percent treasury grant as well as an accelerated depreciation bonus, both aimed at renewable energy projects.
"Without those two programs, it would not be possible for SolarSense to do what we do," Fraga said.
Fraga believes renewable energy can be a driving force for job creation. A thriving company that strives to be a good corporate citizen? "That's a win-win," Fraga said.

Ari Matusiak is Executive Director of the White House Business Council