Community power is springing up everywhere! There’s a huge amount of interest in it – in fact, as I noted almost a year ago, it’s really a movement, and one that keeps growing. This was in evidence at the recent San Francisco Bay Area Community Solar Confluence I organized, which was co-sponsored by the Solar Gardens Institute and the Local Clean Energy Alliance. It was part of a series of similar events this spring in Boston, New York, and Omaha.
The event drew in 80 people from diverse perspectives:
- Members of community groups and neighborhood associations
- Organizations that are funding community power
- People working on policy to promote community power, or advocating for community power in other ways
- Members of activist groups like 350.org
- Government employees
- Solar installers
- And even individuals not associated with any organization, who were just interested in finding out more about community power
We also had a range of speakers from organizations promoting community power. Though the organizations have different approaches, they’re all working toward the same goal – and that’s to empower communities and help as many people as possible participate in renewable energy.
- Clean Coalition: Find out more about the CLEAN programs (aka feed-in tariffs) that Ted Ko helps implement.
- Our City: Check out the CleanPowerSF program that Eric Brooks is working on.
- GRID Alternatives: See how Erica Mackie’s organization is bringing solar to low-income communities.
- Learn how these organizations fund community power projects with donations from people like you:
Learn more about policy:
- General info on SB 843, the CA virtual net metering bill that Tom Price and Brandon Keefe told us about at the Confluence. We’ve posted a PDF from their talk on the SGI Training page. See also:
The fact that we had to squeeze the talks and questions into not enough time attests to how much is happening with community power in the Bay Area, and how much interest there is. The Confluence gave us an overview of community solar in the area and introduced many of us to one another. Let’s continue the conversation!
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, get involved locally:
- Join the Local Clean Energy Alliance for updates on what’s going on, including monthly meetings on community power issues. The LCEA welcomes volunteers in a variety of areas, so here’s your chance to keep networking and learning.
- Join our community power working group to share info on community power models and get projects started in the Bay Area.
- Sign up for the GRID Alternatives Solarthon to install solar PV systems for low-income families.