Sunny side of the street- Solar Cooperatives

With the threat of climate change looming like an unseasonable storm cloud overhead, and a Congress that can barely agree on the time of day let alone a meaningful energy policy, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged.  Yet, instead of letting the frustration of politics get in the way of responsible stewardship, communities across the nation are banding together to take steps towards a greener future.  Installing solar panels can be an excellent way to reduce the costs of household electric bills and shift consumption practices away from dirty, non-renewable sources of power.  Individually, going solar can be expensive and inconvenient.  Banded together, co-ops bring down the cost of setting up an array, share their expertise with the entire neighborhood, and develop a model that can be followed by local and national governments.

Want a little help getting your street off the grid?  Allow Mt. Pleasant Solar Cooperative of Washington, D.C. to guide you towards the light!  An association of over 70 households, the Cooperative was founded in 2006 by neighbors concerned about energy independence and global warming.  Advocating conservation and collective action, they provide their members with sponsored energy audits, compact fluorescent bulbs, aggregate neighborhood data on electricity usage, seminars, and the buying power that comes with greater numbers.

With our sunny Mediterranean climate, San Luis Obispo County is perfect for solar technology. The Central Coast is home to several local solar companies, including REC Solar and Pacific Energy Company.  As if making a dent in the climate crisis was not enough of a reason to switch to renewables, online calculators allowing you to determine the money you would save make for a compelling argument.  The state even provides incentives and rebates for homeowners and businesses to take the first steps towards set-up.

Need a little help getting people together?  Browse the Center for a New American Dream’s website for advice on how to start a movement in your neck of the woods!

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