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Making Solar Power a Community Thing

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By Zachary

Americans love solar power, really.

Nearly every poll concerning the matter shows tremendous support for solar power across the United States, across political preferences, and so on. No, unfortunately, that hasn’t translated into a lot of solar power use yet. (But we’re getting there — solar power growth has been tremendous in the last decade or so.)

Now, when you think of going solar, you think of doing so on your own, right? But that one person at a time thing is sort of slow, and with so many people loving solar power, there seems to be a growing trend to make going solar more of a community thing.

The idea for this article originally came from a fun story about a guy (an English guy, actually) who went solar and then decided to bring 100 of his neighbors with him.

“Convinced that it is up to all of us to take responsibility for climate change, Philip Ditchfield decided to do something about it. While tackling his own footprint through energy saving, and producing renewable energy, was attractive—Ditchfield decided to employ the power of numbers to have a bigger impact,” Sami Grover of TreeHugger writes:

“By convincing 100 of his neighbors to also install solar, he figured, he could create a new sense of shared identity and pride around the idea of a low carbon, solar community.”

– Sami Grover

Philip set up a neighborhood buyers club that results in reduced rates (a 12% discount), shared expertise, and as a certain credit card might say, the “priceless” fun of working with your neighbors to make the world a better place and save a little money.

Philip passed his target of 100 neighbors.

He’s got about 30 already generating electricity from solar and 185 signed up for the program! Apparently, Philip is getting some well-deserved national and international attention. Below is a video from Al Jazeera English on Philip and crew.

Philip isn’t the only one with a community-oriented solar vision. Stay tuned for more stories like this in the coming weeks…