Save the date — May 23 Community Solar Confluence in San Francisco

I’m organizing an exciting event that’s coming up in late May — the San Francisco Community Solar Confluence. It’s part of a series of “confluences” presented by the Solar Gardens Institute.

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Solar for all!

Over a year ago, I began my quest to solarize my condo complex. I’m still working on that — but even if (I mean, when!) we manage to get solar for the common electricity and hot water, there’s not enough room on the roof to power all the units. So what do we do? In my research, I’ve come across a number of promising community solar options that can help us all participate in solar power.

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Occupy rooftops (and parking lots, unused land, etc.)

Can you spot all the roofs with solar in this photo? I hope ours will join them soon!

Have you ever thought about going solar? Maybe you rent, live in a condo, can’t afford solar, have a shaded roof, or plan to move soon.

Some states are now making it possible to go solar even in these situations. In those states, people can subscribe to solar power from a common array called a solar garden, supplying their homes through the existing power grid. Next year, a bill will be before the legislature in California to make this possible here. Please urge your representative to vote for SB 843, which would enable solar gardens to happen in California.

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The power of community

This post originally appeared on The Energy Collective.

You may or may not have noticed, but a grassroots movement in community power is picking up speed around the country. What’s community power, you may ask, and why does it matter?

The community power movement aims to decentralize electricity generation, which provides benefits to communities beyond local, clean, and more affordable energy — though those benefits would be enough. Take the case of solar power. Solar is getting cheaper, and given the costs of coal and nuclear plants, it will at some point become cheaper than other options. But who will benefit? Organizations promoting community power want to ensure that the answer to that is the people who need the power, rather than big companies outside their communities. In addition, keeping power production local creates jobs locally, avoids destroying delicate habitats, and bypasses the need for inefficient transmission lines, which can take many years to put in place.

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