In November, OpenIDEO challenged the world to come up with new ways to achieve a renewable energy-powered future. Innovators submitted proposals of their designs and projects and got feedback from the community. The best entries were singled out for their potential effectiveness.

OpenIDEO’s Renewable Energy Challenge* — sponsored by the 11th Hour Project, which was founded by Grist board member Wendy Schmidt and also funds Grist — recently announced the top ideas from the challenge. Some are still in the planning stages, while others are further along, but all are absolutely applause-worthy. Here are the eight finalists:

1.  Avava Systems: This organization wants to turn vacant lots in San Francisco into spots for sustainable and affordable housing. They’re currently working toward a goal to deliver 10 units by Aug. 1 of this year.


2. Energy Lend: This team wants to connect NGOs, energy providers, and individuals to lenders around the…

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