A Greener Tomorrow: The Work of Three Princeton Alumni is Saving the Planet

Written by
Jocelyne Wijaya '26
Aug. 31, 2023

Princeton University is committed to actively work towards green energy solutions on many fronts, dissociating with fossil fuel companies, investing in renewable energy, and proactively adopting other eco-friendly measures as part of their commitment to clean energy. This vision has been implemented by three alumni who were given seed funding through the Princeton Alumni Entrepreneurs Fund for work they were doing in the clean energy space. 

Steph Speirs *14 is the co-founder of Solstice, a company that connects households and businesses to community solar farms and clean energy. Solstice created EnergyScore, a machine-learning algorithm that expands access to clean energy to underserved Americans.

Since its origins as a non-profit organization, Solstice spun out a software company providing a frictionless subscriber management platform for community solar projects, showing different theories of how change can increase access to clean energy. This demonstrated value was recognized by many, resulting in an acquisition by MyPower, an affiliate of Mitsui, which is a global investment leader that seeks to prioritize sustainable development and clean energy infrastructure. This partnership will enable Solstice to democratize the transition to clean energy more rapidly, helping to avert irreversible climate damage by putting more clean power into communities while investing in new products and services that also ensure local communities and households can partake in this eco-friendly mission. 

Similarly, Angelo Campus ‘16 created BoxPower, an energy startup that is redefining the grid in rural areas. With an aging energy grid and increased severity and frequency of natural disasters, power lines are becoming more dangerous and energy reliability is decreasing in rural and remote areas. BoxPower's rapidly deployable solar standalone power systems are replacing these risky distribution lines as a cost-effective and reliable alternative. With a suite of software services and modular hardware solutions, BoxPower helps organizations not only reduce energy-related disaster risk and bolster energy reliability, but also helps realize significant savings on line undergrounding and upgrades. BoxPower recently raised $6M in Series A funding led by Aligned Climate Capital. BoxPower has over 70 projects in development with investor-owned utilities and 40 successful deployments spanning diverse partners. Additionally, they have already offset over 40 million pounds of CO2 and energized more than 4,200 individuals and businesses.

Lauren Bender, Entrepreneurial Program Manager, praises the BoxPower team for their “single minded focus,” adding that they “understood the value of micro and off grid energy systems well before the market did.” 

On the theme of producing more sustainable forms of energy, Liminal Insights, a battery manufacturing intelligence company, has recently announced the closing of a $17.5 million Series A2 funding round with the plans of investing in factory-integrated solutions for the production of safe, reliable, and affordable EV batteries. They are deploying their first full-scale commercial product with a major European cell manufacturer later this year.

Andrew Hsieh *14, co-founder of Liminal, envisions a future of clean energy, with EVs being utilized world-wide. Liminal seeks to bridge the gap between the production of batteries and manufacturing safety, ensuring affordability yet ensuring that protection is maintained. In order to improve EV affordability while ensuring high performance, Liminal seeks to bridge the gap between the speed of battery manufacturing and achieving high quality production. To do this, Liminal’s products combine ultrasound inspection technology with machine learning analytics to give battery manufacturers the real-time insights they need to improve battery cost, quality, and safety. By tackling these two facets, Liminal is accelerating global EV adoption and effectively helping address the climate crisis.

Bender writes, “It is wonderful to see how these three alumni continue to live their values while also taking care of the bottom line, and supporting a successful transition to a renewable energy future.” 
Two of these alumni, Steph Speirs and Angelo Campus are also winners of the 2017 Tiger Entrepreneur Award. Nominations for the 2023 Tiger Entrepreneur Award are now open.

TEA Nomination Form

Together, Speirs, Campus, and Hsieh all testify to the power of the Princeton entrepreneurial community in furthering the University’s vision of clean-energy beyond campus. With their startup companies, new forms of sustainable fuel and eco-friendly practices are being implemented, changing the world one step at a time.