Silambam Houston will use the funding to create the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club Sustainability Pavilion. Photo courtesy of Green Mountain

Green Mountain Energy Sun Club has supplied a grant of nearly $103,000 to a local Indian arts center to make sustainable improvements to its facilities.

Silambam Houston will use the grant to help with the installation of a rooftop solar array and a new pavilion at its Pearland dance studio, which will be called The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club Sustainability Pavilion. The venue will serve as an outdoor gathering space for events at the facility.

“At Green Mountain Energy, we recognize that our choices can have a profound impact on our environment,” Mark Parsons, Green Mountain Energy vice president, says in a news release. “We’re proud to support the rich and diverse culture of the Indian community, and we’re glad to help Silambam take the next step toward a more sustainable future.”

The 14.58 kW solar structure is expected to offset 100 percent of the building’s energy needs, which would save the organization more than $4,000 per year for the next 25 years. Sun Club has donated more than $14 million for 164 projects across Texas and the Northeast since it was founded in 2022.

Silambam is an Indian classical arts organization with an arts academy program that serves 180 students each week with more than 20 teaching artists on staff. The professional dance company has more than 20 dancers that regularly perform at Houston venues like Miller Outdoor Theater where they will perform next on June 7.

“We are thrilled to be able to weave sustainable practices into our arts programming, while also giving back to the community,” founder and executive artistic director of Silambam Dr. Lavanya Rajagopalan said in a news release. “The annual savings from this project will allow us to increase artist pay, provide tuition waivers for economically disadvantaged students, and/or provide free or pay-what-you-can access to our ArtStream Concerts, all while benefiting the environment.”

Silambam Houston will use the grant to help with the installation of a rooftop solar array and a new pavilion at its Pearland dance studio. Photo courtesy of Green Mountain

A Houston nonprofit's farm will soon be completely off-grid, running its entire operation on sustainable resources. Photo courtesy of Hope Farms

Houston nonprofit flips switch on solar panel project thanks to sustainability grant

shine on

A Houston-area farm is one step closer to operating completely off-grid thanks to new solar panels installed with funding provided by a grant.

In a step towards a greener future, Hope Farms, a 7-acre farm operated by a Houston nonprofit organization, Recipe for Success Foundation, unveiled 18 new solar panels on Tuesday. This significant move is part of a collective effort to completely transition the farm to solar power, demonstrating its commitment to sustainability.

“The industry (solar power) itself is intimidating to people,” Gracie Cavner, founder and CEO of Hope Farms and Recipe for Success, tells EnergyCapital. “Part of our work is to inspire people to replicate what we're doing. We want to show that things aren't as hard as you think they are.”

The nonprofit organization is recognized in Houston for its work in addressing childhood obesity, with a long held mission of demystifying the common misconceptions around healthy eating. It is now tackling another challenge: dispelling the myth that solar power implementation is difficult. Hope Farms' latest initiative will not only further its energy independence, it will also show that adopting renewable energy, similar to embracing healthy food choices, is a feasible option.

The 18 solar panels will power the farm's composting toilet facility and all of the electricity used in its barn, which acts as its market stand and kitchen. Its next green phase is fast approaching and will implement solar panels on top of its flower studio, where the farm's internet and security systems reside. Its final phase will install a water well pump.

“We really did a lot of direct learning,” Cavner said. “We worked directly with solar engineers, not somebody with a company that benefited from us making one decision or another. I feel like more people would have solar if they realized they could do that.”

This is not the first green step Hope Farms has taken thanks to a Green Mountain Energy Sun Club grant, and certainly not the last. Last year, the farm cut the ribbons to its rainwater capture system that now saves roughly 95,000 gallons of water per year by capitalizing on the city’s abundant rainfall.

Since the farms beginning in 2016, it has relied on solar, even when it was only fields lit by a few lights. Soon, Hope Farms will be completely off-grid, running its entire operation on sustainable resources.

“With this expansion, I feel like it’s going to be taking the rock out of the middle of the river,” Cavner said. “It’s going to open up this train and make it easier for anybody to jump in and do it. The first step is kicking the door open and making more people want to pursue it.”

Hope Farms installed 18 solar panels and already has plans to add more. Photo courtesy of Hope Farms

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Houston-area company specializing in creating clean campuses announces new data center project

coming soon

A California AI infrastructure company has announced it's building a 200 megawatt data center in Texas and will work with The Woodlands-based Lancium, a decarbonization-focused energy technology company.

Crusoe Energy Systems LLC announced its plans to build the 200 MW data center at the Lancium Clean Campus outside Abilene, Texas. The two companies will work to bring the data center online in the coming months, reports Lancium in a news release. Once completed, the first phase will enable AI workloads at scale across 1.2 gigawatts of power capacity.

“Lancium’s mission to decarbonize compute for the most energy-intensive workloads and this scale and type of data center is game-changing,” Michael McNamara, co-founder and CEO of Lancium, says in the release. “Our energy management expertise, the integration of incremental storage and solar generation resources behind-the-meter at the campus, and Crusoe’s design approach will combine to deliver the maximum amount of green energy at the lowest possible cost, while bringing significant benefits to the Abilene community.”

Lancium's role will include "land acquisition, power interconnect, site engineering, renewables interconnect, and power orchestration," per the release. Crusoe will own and develop the data center, which is expected to go online in 2025.

“Data centers are rapidly evolving to support modern AI workloads, requiring new levels of high density rack space, direct-to-chip liquid cooling and unprecedented overall energy demands. We’ve designed this data center to enable the largest clusters of GPUs in the world to drive new breakthroughs in AI,” adds Chase Lochmiller, Crusoe’s co-founder and CEO. “Given its leadership in renewable energy and plans for the site, working with Lancium in Abilene presents a unique opportunity to sustainably power the future of AI and we’re thrilled to have the support of the city in this ambitious endeavor.”

According to the release, the project will feature direct-to-chip liquid cooling or rear-door heat exchangers and will be flexible enough to include air cooling. Once completed, each building within the data center will be able to operate up to 100,000 GPUs on a single integrated network fabric, according to the companies.

Lancium has raised $150 million since its founding in 2017, according to Crunchbase. Investors include Hanwha Solutions and SBI Group.

Houston clean hydrogen producer teams up with O&G for series of pilots

piling on pilots

Gold H2, a Houston-based producer of clean hydrogen, is teaming up with a major U.S.-based oil and gas company as the first step in launching a 12-month series of pilot projects.

The tentative agreement with the unnamed oil and gas company kicks off the availability of the startup’s Black 2 Gold microbial technology. The technology underpins the startup’s biotech process for converting crude oil into proprietary Gold Hydrogen.

The cleantech startup plans to sign up several oil and gas companies for the pilot program. Gold H2 says it’s been in discussions with companies in North America, Latin America, India, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

The pilot program is aimed at demonstrating how Gold H2’s technology can transform old oil wells into hydrogen-generating assets. Gold H2, a spinout of Houston-based biotech company Cemvita, says the technology is capable of producing hydrogen that’s cheaper and cleaner than ever before.

“This business model will reshape the traditional oil and gas industry landscape by further accelerating the clean energy transition and creating new economic opportunities in areas that were previously dismissed as unviable,” Gold H2 says in a news release.

The start of the Black 2 Gold demonstrations follows the recent hiring of oil and gas industry veteran Prabhdeep Singh Sekhon as CEO.

“With the proliferation of AI, growth of data centers, and a national boom in industrial manufacturing underway, affordable … carbon-free energy is more paramount than ever,” says Rayyan Islam, co-founder and general partner at venture capital firm 8090 Industries, an investor in Gold H2. “We’re investing in Gold H2, as we know they’ll play a pivotal role in unleashing a new dawn for energy abundance in partnership with the oil industry.”