SmartPower President Brian F. Keane engages a group of student leaders at Catholic Memorial School after presenting on solar and the Solarize Mass-Boston program to more than 400 students.
Solarize Mass-Boston visited Catholic Memorial School and Boston Latin School, the oldest public high school in the country, to educate students about the benefits of solar power.
The Solarize Team presented to more than 400 boys from Catholic Memorial School, spanning several grades, asking students to complete an Energy Efficiency/Solar Quiz and providing them take-home information on the Solarize Mass-Boston program. Students were so engaged in the discussion that there were dozens and dozens of questions on everything from the basics of solar to the details of the Solarize program. Several teachers and the school’s Head Master also took part in the solar discussion, assigning the students homework to go home and talk about solar at dinner with their families. One teacher even decided to incorporate solar into her lesson plan for the following week!
The Solarize Team had just as much success engaging students and teachers at Boston Latin School. One teacher, Cate Arnold, runs the Youth Climate Action Network (YOUTHCAN) and was able to introduce the Solarize Team to more than 40 students who were very eager to learn more about the benefits of solar as a clean energy source. All of these students were highly motivated to share what they learned about the Solarize Mass-Boston program with their parents, since they saw it as a perfect opportunity to play their part in the greening of their home and combatting climate change.
Perhaps the most exciting outcome of the visit to Boston Latin School was that Mrs. Arnold expressed interest in hosting a Solarize house party at her home in West Roxbury. Mrs. Arnold does not have solar, but that isn’t stopping her from creating an opportunity to introduce her neighbors to the unique Solarize program. Mrs. Arnold is also photo copying the Solarize handout to be placed in all of the science classrooms throughout the school.
A couple of students have already followed up with the Solarize Team as a result of these two school visits. One young woman lives in an attached town house in Roxbury and said that Solarize “is what we’ve been waiting for!” It was so wonderful to have the opportunity to go beyond traditional outreach to homeowners and really engage children in how they can play a significant role in how their family views and uses energy. The Solarize Mass-Program expects several site visit signups as a result of these two exciting visits!
Two reports released last week by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) illustrate the ever-growing reach and scope of the solar industry across the United States. Currently, the U.S. has enough solar capacity to power more than 940,000 households. The reduced cost of solar has certainly played a part in this increase, but so has the onset of ‘solar sense’ in big business.
In SEIA’s Top 20 Commercial Solar Users report released last Wednesday, more and more national corporations like Wal-Mart, Costco and Kohl’s Department Stores are choosing to make the investment in solar because they’ve found it not only stabilizes their electricity costs over the lifetime of their systems, but they also experience an improved bottom line, freeing up more time and funds to focus on their core business strategies.
As SEIA’s U.S. Solar Market Insight: 2nd Quarter 2012 report reveals, the 116 percent growth in the solar market since the second quarter of 2011 is a result of both big business and residential installations, as well as another key player — the utilities market. With so many markets going solar, it’s no surprise that the second quarter of 2012 saw 742 megawatts of solar installed, making it the second best quarter in the history of the solar market.
With the price of solar continuing to drop, demand for solar is likely to continue rising. SmartPower is working with SEIA to help spread awareness of this industry growth so that more corporations, utility companies and residents can start reaping the benefits of solar.
Homeowners participating in unique solar group purchasing models like that of SmartPower’s Solarize Mass-Boston and Solarize Connecticut programs are receiving extra incentives to purchase solar systems for their homes. The tiered pricing structure is proving to be extremely effective in increasing solar purchases, so we expect even more growth in the industry as similar residential programs spread across the country.
Last week it was announced that Boston’s Mayor Menino is all set to install solar. This is big news for the city, which is currently running an innovative discount solar program called Solarize Mass-Boston.
Solarize Mass-Boston encourages the adoption of small scale solar PV by deploying a coordinated education, marketing and outreach effort, combined with a tiered pricing structure that provides increased savings as more people in the community go solar. SolarCity is the selected local installer for this discount solar program.
It’s exactly because of this refer-a-friend incentive that the Mayor’s decision to participate in the program, leading by example, can have such a profound impact on the Solarize program in Boston. As the Solarize model is replicated in other cities and states, it’s exciting to see the attention and participation from municipal leaders that solar so deserves. Well done, Mayor Menino!
SmartPower is continuing to work with the Mass Clean Energy Center and The John Merck Fund to support solar outreach throughout Boston. To learn more about the Solarize Massachusetts model, visit the About Solarize page of the program’s website.
From Romney running against the wind in Iowa to a solar opponent’s lost election in Florida, clean energy has overcome some heated political battles this week. Send us your favorite stories on Twitter using the hashtag #SmartReads.
NPR: Obama Backs Wind Energy, Romney Favors Coal — President Obama was in Iowa Tuesday, touting the electric potential of wind power. Republican rival Mitt Romney was in Ohio, talking up coal. Each candidate accused the other of standing in the way of the rival energy source. [August 15, 2012]
POLITICO: Cliff Stearns Concedes in GOP Primary — The outcome in Tuesday’s election was an unexpected fall from power for Stearns, who had used his chairmanship of a key House Energy and Commerce subcommittee to put the White House on the hot seat over Solyndra and help trigger this year’s Komen-Planned Parenthood blow-up. [August 15, 2012]
The New York Times: Mine Plan Puts Two Kentucky Fixtures on Collision Course — The signs begin around Girl Scout Road, yellow placards dotting yards and affixed to trees along Route 231 here. “No Coal Trucks” they say, or, more to the point, “Stop Strip Mining.” [August 14, 2012]
Bloomberg: Solar Company to Create More Than 300 Jobs in NC — A designer and manufacturer of solar power mounting systems plans will set up its U.S. headquarters in Shelby, N.C. and create more than 300 jobs at a production and distribution facility.[August 14, 2012]
PhillyBurbs.com: Unemployed Get Chance at Green Energy Industry — Through a $306,265 grant from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the state Energy Sector Partnership, BCC’s corporate college is offering qualified residents a tuition-free green-energy technology training program. [August 13, 2012]