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June 16, 2014

It's Time to #PutSolarOnIt Nationwide

PSOI call to actionAs a renter in Oakland, California, I'm more than a little bummed that I can't put solar on my rooftop, but thankfully that doesn't mean I can't take part in the exponential growth that's happening in the solar industry across the U.S.

This is why I'm thrilled that the Sierra Club is a partner in the #PutSolarOnIt day of action on June 21 -- the longest day of the year. I love seeing all the churches, synagogues, homes, businesses, apartment complexes and more putting solar on their roofs -- these are concrete solutions to climate disruption.

The Sierra Club is proud to be part of the coalition of groups coming together on this national day of action to show support for switching to clean energy, fighting climate change, and the power of bringing solar power to communities all across the country.

It doesn't have to just be people who own property who get to benefit from solar energy, which can cut energy costs down to zero and give us the freedom to use clean, nonpolluting electricity. The Sierra Club and other solar advocates around the country are trying to get programs and rules in place that would allow for shared renewable energy or "community solar."

At least 10 states have recognized the benefits of shared renewables by encouraging their growth through policy and programs, and there are at least 52 shared renewables projects in 17 different states throughout the U.S.

Still others are taking part in solar crowd-funding -- where you can "buy" a share of solar to help get solar on a rooftop somewhere else. I did this myself through a platform called Mosaic when I invested in solar on an affordable housing complex near where I grew up in Corte Madera, California.

#PSOIDoA-142ksolarworkersSolar is changing lives and producing some serious benefits. Colorado's public charter school "The Pinnacle" has one of the largest rooftop solar installations in the entire state.  It will provide 43 percent of the school's electrical needs and "In its 30-year expected lifespan, the array is expected to prevent 54,034,418 pounds of CO2 from entering our atmosphere!"

Farmers in the Midwest are seeing the bright side of solar, too: One Illinois farmer installed solar and "cut the electricity bill by about 40 percent."

The solar array at Stonehill College in Massachusetts "is expected to save the school $185,000 per year in energy costs, and about $3.2 million over 15 years."

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross have a solar array at their convent that will "save them $19,000 a year on their utility bill."

Yet there are still millions of un-covered roofs in the country - schools, churches, warehouses, community centers, even landfills!  -- that could be generating solar energy for their communities, saving money, and reducing pollution.

Join us in this push to #PutSolarOnIt! What do you want to put solar on? Imagine all the places solar could be. Share your ideas by commenting or adding your own photos on our Facebook page, and let us #PutSolarOnIt. We'll post the winning entry this Saturday, June 21st. Bonus points if it's funny and feasible!


Beyond June 21, connect with your local Sierra Club chapter to see how you can help get a program in your community and/or educate your neighbors about existing opportunities to get a share in community solar.

Or you can check out NREL's Guide to Community Shared Solar to organize your own solar share.

Be part of the solar revolution sweeping the country!

-- Jodie Van Horn, Sierra Club


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