Sunday, February 26, 2006

Solar power for All-- with a Hollywood boost

Hey solarDwellers:

First a shout out to Unplugged Living , a site you should definitely check out, and not just because they mentioned your humble solarDweller during the masterful "Green blogathon" over the last couple days(Check out sustainablog and shea gunther for more on that green-posting party).

And for today's topic: the massive spread of solar love, to the masses! The last thing one wants is solar power to be this elitist, chic thing for cool people on top of their Malibu mansions to heat up their hot tubs, while sipping on a cool glass of chardonnay. Granted, technology gets implemented first by those who got the cash, but then the hope is that it goes "mainstream."

To that end, I previously have mentioned a "solar great" non-profit called "Grid Alternatives" out of the S.F. Bay area, who uses volunteers to install solar equipment, which is purchased by lower-income folk with county low-interest loans. In effect, bringing solar to those who need it MOST: those whose electricity bill makes up a sizable portion of their income.

So, take a look at this article that talks about how Hollywood celebrity types that install solar to be so green and posh at the same time, donate equipment at the same time to get PV installed on less decadent, lower-income homes:

Hollywood stars heat up solar power

A partnership between BP and celebrities is helping low-income families go green.
(Business 2.0) - Los Angeles homeowner K.J. Lee never expected solar power to make her feel like a celebrity . . . The solar-energy system that has powered her home since March came completely free, courtesy of the BP Solar Neighbors Program.

Celebrity do-gooders
Dreamed up by movie star Edward Norton, the program tackles the dual issues of affordable housing and clean energy. When a celebrity purchases a home solar system from BP, the energy giant donates the same equipment--including solar panels and an in-house wireless display, worth between $10,000 and $40,000--to a low-income family in Los Angeles. "It helps families that wouldn't ordinarily have the resources to use solar energy and gives them more money to spend on other necessities like food," says Irene Brown, director of California community affairs at BP.

And . . . the West Coast is the ideal place for solar power to prosper: "One thing you know about California is that the sun will rise again."

So, let's push for solar for as many sectors of the economy as possible: business, residential and government buildings. Another great application for solar is on public school buildings: the rebates are even better than commercial, and since most schools are out during the summer, just about all of the peak electricity produced by the solar panels during the summer gets credited toward the school's electricity use during its 9-month school year.

--the solarDweller

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess your solar vision came true. I was just looking back at this post and you're right on target. Solar growth is happening in commercial and government buildings and I think something like 70% of installed solar capacity is in California.

Nice blog, I dig it.

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