Experts agree that 2016 will be a great year for solar power in the United States. With the ITC extension, binding greenhouse gas emission targets from COP21 and a renewed focus on renewables from the White House, government is leading the way.
But what do you do if you want solar but you live in a state like Virginia that’s behind on solar (ranked #29 for renewables by the Sierra Club)? And even worse, your small city is behind neighboring communities on installed solar?
What you do is start a local campaign for more solar. And that’s what Go Solar Staunton is all about. It’s not about changing the state environment for solar — it’s about taking advantage of what we can already do to get the most solar we can as soon as possible.
So what that residential PPAs aren’t allowed in Virginia? Since commercial PPAs are allowed, Go Solar Staunton will try to get solar installed on schools, government buildings and even commercial and industrial buildings, all of which can qualify for solar at no money down.
The campaign set an ambitious goal: To go from less than 100 kW of solar installed in the city to more than 1 MW within 12 months.
Curren Group CEO Erik Curren is leading this effort in his capacity as a member of Staunton City Council but also as a solar marketer and successful commercial solar salesman. To kickoff the campaign, the Curren Group:
- Recruited solar experts from around the state to participate
- Mobilized local citizens primarily using social media
- Organized public meetings
- Coordinated activism to reach state and local elected officials, both online and through in-person meetings
- Recruited news media to attend events
Though in its early stages, the Go Solar Staunton campaign has already received positive coverage in the news media:
- “Solar Meeting Lights Up Conservation Ideas” by Laura Peters, Staunton News Leader, February 2, 2015.