FAQs

When you join SunCrew, you have three options:

  1. DONOR: As a Donor, you are making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit SolarSeeds Foundation, in partnership with Trusteeship Institute (EIN: 27-4034763). When the loans from your SolarSeeds are paid off, we simply replant your “seeds” – plus we will track the growth and share pictures of the lives you touch. It is truly the gift that keeps giving. You will be assigned your own personal website so you can refer people to help you spread sunshine and our software will track everything for you. It is fun to watch your “crew” grow around the world. And people who join can be donors, sowers or growers. If you ever want to change your option, you can do that in your custom back-office.

  2. SOWER: As a Sower, you are contributing your money as a supplemental deposit to help people go solar now. When the loan is paid off, you can get your money back, or we replant your SolarSeed. The choice is yours. You will be assigned your own personal website so you can refer people to help you spread sunshine and our software will track everything for you. It is fun to watch your “crew” grow around the world. And people who join can be donors, sowers or growers. If you ever want to change your option, you can do that in your custom back-office.

  3. GROWER: As a Grower, you share in all of the profits in the CoOp based on your Patronage Points. You earn points for every action that helps us spread sunshine. For example, if you buy SolarSeeds, you earn points. If one of your clients becomes a Grower with us, you earn Points. If you sell a solar system in the U.S., you earn lots of points. The U.S. spends more money on “customer acquisition” every year than on the U.S. military. Customer acquisition includes all of the advertising, branding and sales commissions spent to get you to buy stuff. So we thought, “What if we create a perpetual customer acquisition machine, that provides great products and services and when we sell them, instead of paying advertisers, we pay our Members. And to make it even better, our customers all over the world can become Members so we create a decentralized economic ecosystem for humanity.” If you become a Grower, you are part of this movement – and we all own it together. You will be assigned your own personal website so you can refer people to help you spread sunshine and our software will track everything for you. It is fun to watch your “crew” grow around the world. And people who join can be donors, sowers or growers. If you are wondering why we have to charge a fee to join the CoOp, check out the first question in the CoOp FAQ section.

Absolutely! Anytime you want…and with just a simple click in your back-office. The one thing to note is that any SolarSeeds you contributed as a Donor will always remain as part of the SolarSeeds Foundation. Since you made a donation, you can never get that money back, but you will enjoy seeing your SolarSeeds continue to spread sunshine as we keep replanting your seeds.

No. We only pay sales commissions when a solar light is purchased and the loan is fully paid. Profits are paid from the sale of the solar light, never from the SolarSeed. The SolarSeeds are either replanted to spread more light, or the money is returned to the Sower.

$3 per Solar Light, or 33% of the $9 retail cost.

  • The Customer pays a $3 deposit and then pays $3 per month for two more months. Once a total of $9 is collected, we replant your original SolarSeed so your light keeps growing, or, as a Sower, we give you back your $3 – your choice.

Once the Customer pays off their initial loan, they are now saving over $3 a month by not buying kerosene and they have the option to become a Grower and use those savings to buy SolarSeeds, spread more light and profit with our Member Owned Cooperative.

  • This is where it really gets exciting because our customers become stakeholders and the profits become decentralized in the communities we serve. Our projections show that a single Grower who contributes $9, could earn over $300 in less than five years as the “seeds” are replanted. That might not seem like a lot of money to you, but if you are making $2 a day, that extra income can change your life (plus our customers will be saving about $8/per month by not buying kerosene. Over 8 years, which is the average useful life our award winning solar light…that is $768 of savings…plus the money they can make as Growers). The goal is to create a global network of “ecopreneurs” who help us distribute solutions at the grass-roots level. In international development, one of the biggest challenges is getting solutions “the last mile.” Our Growers live in the communities, and since they profit from our solutions, the local economies grow with us.

After expenses, all of the profits are divided up amongst all of our Growers based on their points. As a Grower, the more seeds you plant, the more light you share and the more profits you harvest.

As a Donor, you don’t make money. You are simply making a donation and you can get a tax write off (confirm with your accountant).

As a Sower, you don’t make money. You simply get your money back, or plant more SolarSeeds – your choice.

As a Grower, you have three options:

  • Have all your profits simply plant more SolarSeeds. This way you make no personal profit and you plant the maximum amount of SolarSeeds (you choose the percentage that goes to more SolarSeeds and the percentage you want as profit).
  • Donate your profits to our non-profit SolarSeeds Foundation.
  • Decide that each of us profiting together by spreading sunshine is a good thing and a positive way to create an economic shift.

Our vision is to create a sustainable business where everyone who contributes shares in the profits. We like the fact that everyone is on the same playing field. No matter where you live, or how much money you have, we are all on the same Crew with the same rules. There is one exception: if our customers decide to become Growers, they only chip in a $3 deposit (instead of a $69) to join the CoOp. They still pay the full CoOp fee over time. We simply want our partners in the developing world to experience some “financial harvest” as soon as possible and, based on the disparity of income, the smaller deposit feels like a fair solution.

Your SolarSeed still provides light for that family, but your Seed will stop growing if the borrower is unable to pay the loan. In this scenario, it is like you donated your SolarSeed to an organization that provides solar lights. Organizations like KIVA.org and the Grameen Bank have done millions of individual loans and show a payback rate of about 95%.

Absolutely. Access to credit in the developing world is something that holds back a lot of potential entrepreneurs. When Robert lived in Guatemala with the Peace Corps, the interest rate to start a business in the community where he lived was 90% a year. When a Customer pays off her first loan, we just found a credit worthy customer in the developing world. If she wants a solar phone charger, she simply puts down another deposit and we provide her with another loan. Over time, as her credit gets stronger and stronger, she can get larger and larger loans. Eventually, SunCrew can help her launch her own businesses as part of the SunCrew community – now that is decentralizing power by empowering people.

On this first set of solar lights, the timetable is dependent on two factors:

  • First we have to get a total of $25,000 worth of SolarSeeds – that is the minimum amount we can order of the lights and still get the volume discount we need to make the numbers work.
  • Once we have the minimum order amount, we place the order and then it takes about six weeks to manufacture the lights and then we have to ship them to country.

We are working on some ways to accelerate this process, including finding someone who is willing to provide us a larger deposit that will be secured by the lights so we can have lights in country and ready to distribute as “seeds” are purchased.

Our goal is to create a global movement, which requires resources. We all chip in a little bit so we can all own it together. We will be completely transparent with our finances through quarterly reports. As a Member you will be treated like an owner because that is what you are. The fee is $369, but if someone pays during sign up, we give a discount to $299. If someone cannot afford that, they can do a deposit of $69 and we will apply 30% of their future profits to their fee until the $369 is paid off. There is also a 10% administration fee. The $299 is the best option.

100,000 people at $300 would be $30 million dollars. If SunCrew has that level of financial backing, there are many things we can do to scale our growth, create more impact and generate more profit (and we all share in the profits based on our Patronage Points). After covering the expenses from the management company, we will all decide together how to best use our collective resources to benefit all stakeholders, including our planet. CoOp fees go into the management company to make the best long-term decisions for the cooperative. All financials will be transparent and Crew Members will have access to a quarterly report. The purpose of the management company is to support the growth and positive impact of the CoOp.

SunCrew Alliance, PBC is structured as a Public Benefit Corporation and its focus is to promote the success of SunCrew CoOp. There are two main reasons we need a management company: 1) investors cannot have equity in a CoOp and 2) every Member has one vote, which can create challenges with the signing and managing of contracts. Robert Styler is the CEO and “Uncle Bob” is the president of the management company. We will add more staff as needed. The board is made up of Robert, Alisa Gravitz and Terry Mollner. The management company has a contract with the CoOp to provide the software, the contracts, the relationships, etc. so the CoOp can thrive. Every quarter, the management company will report back to the CoOp Members on the budget, administration costs, etc. Everything is transparent and fair. All Members are treated as owners.

Every result you create that helps spread sunshine generates Patronage Points. If you plant a SolarSeed, you get Points. If one of your customers becomes a Grower, you get Points. If your Crew grows and plants more Seeds, you get points. As we expand, if you sell one of our products or services, you get more points.

SunCrew has two separate models: SolarSeeds and everything else.

With “everything else” we tell you exactly how you get paid for your personal results (your back-office will have details). For example, if you sell a residential solar system in the U.S., you will know the exact percentage you earn. For example, here is the breakdown of your Personal Points:

% Paid to Member for Personal Bonus (PB) AFTER 5 and FREE PB Levels
0% 0-30 PB
10% 30-60 PB
20% 60-90 PB
30% 90-300 PB
40% 300-600 PB
50% 600-900 PB
60% 900-3K PB
70% 900-3K PB
80% 6K-9K PB
90% 9K+ PB

The “5 and Free” is a way for you to earn free products as we grow. Basically, for each person you introduce who orders the same amount of Points as you that month, you get a 20% discount on your products…and after 5 people, your products are free.

all focus on what we can do personally, if we all share our gifts, everything else will take care of itself.

The CoOp is treated like a “pass through company.” Any monies earned that month by the CoOp, are paid out that month through the CoOp (based on the Patronage Points). With SolarSeeds, the fastest way to accumulate more Points is to personally plant more Seeds and to select a high percentage of “reseeds” in your back-office (this feature is still being developed).

No. SunCrew is a Member-Owned Cooperative, and the differences are profound.

As the founder of SunCrew, I have been the president of three different MLMs and a top-producer in several others. My uncle, Bob Richards, who is the president of SunCrew, ran a $320M/year network marketing company in 38 countries called Nikken. We know the industry well, and we both saw some benefits we wanted and several pitfalls we wanted to avoid.

In network marketing, you earn a percentage on each level. For example, you might earn 5% down 10 levels for a 50% total payout. These percentages are just based on the sales in your personal group, which creates a “tribal” mentality. SunCrew does not work that way. We combine all of our commissions in one pool, and you earn Patronage Points based on the results you create. You do earn points for growing your team, or Crew, but we never work by levels or a hierarchy. Everything is based on circles. When you join, you are at the center of your circle. As you introduce people and they join Crew, you add more circles – we call them “Circles of Influence,” and they grow like ripples on a pond. We have a proprietary algorithm that calculates your Patronage Points by looking at your Personal Results, your Circles of Influences, your customers who become Growers, your SolarSeeds, and several other factors.

  • SunCrew Members are owners, not sales reps. Our Members share in all of the profits based on their “Patronage Points.” This way we can reward people for helping us “spread sunshine,” but not create a hierarchy with separate “uplines” and “downlines.” We are all part of the same “Crew,” because we all live under the same sun.
  • With SunCrew, the more points you earn, the more money you make and the more you contribute back to the community. As you earn more money from the community, you start sharing from abundance back to Members of your Crew and to the whole CoOp. This assures that the wealth is decentralized and not concentrated at the top. Nature is cyclical, not linear. With SunCrew, the money flows like the water cycle in nature (we are the first company to do this). First the water evaporates up, then when the clouds are full they release the rain, and the cycle begins again. SunCrew follows a similar model. The goal is an economy that is decentralized, distributed and powered by sunshine. Concentrated wealth and power is a recipe for disaster. We want you to be successful, and we want to share from a place of abundant overflow with everyone who contributes and adds value.

Yes – the more SolarSeeds you plant, the more “harvest” you earn. To make this simple for you, we have a “Monthly Harvest” plan where you automatically plant 10-30 SolarSeeds a month. It only costs you $30-$90 a month, and every month you spread more sunshine and earn more harvest.

The key to SolarSeeds is duplication. When a customer pays off their loan, your Seed is replanted. If a customer becomes a Grower, your Seed is replanted and we plant two more Seeds in their name. This way one Seed can turn into three more Seeds, thus increasing your harvest and your income. It will be interesting to document the duplication rate of the SolarSeeds “in the wild,” and we don’t want to make projections until we have some real world numbers.

Yes. With SunCrew, you choose your level of contribution and your level of compensation. SunCrew will be selling residential and commercial solar in the U.S. and we are developing a suite of additional products and services. But first we need to create momentum with our SolarSeeds project. The goal is to become a global distribution center for solutions, where our Members share in all of the profits. Once you become a Grower, we will share all of the details in your back office.

Absolutely. To manage expectations, SolarSeeds are like farming. You plant a SolarSeed, it takes two to six-months for the loan to be paid off, and then another seed is planted. After each loan is paid off, you share in the harvest. SolarSeeds are Slow, Stable and Sustainable. This is not a “get rich quick” model. It is patient “seed capital.”

For those who see SunCrew as a potential career and want to move faster, we have residential and commercial solar in the U.S. and we will be adding other products and services to our offerings. The goal is to become a global distribution network for solutions.