I have been personally inspired by the passion that you and others across the nation have been showing about solar and renewable energy.
In order to see, hear, and share some of those stories, Environment America has been hosting a solar-focused photo contest.
We’ve been receiving such great entries that we’ve extended our contest deadline. So please send in an image, if you haven’t already, by September 15th.
We know many people go solar because their friends, family, and neighbors have made the switch. By sharing your story of why you went solar, a solar array in your community, or even a park you want to protect, you’re giving people across the nation a clear example they can emulate.
Here are a few impactful stories:
Megan, from Colorado, wrote, “On the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Oglala Lakota, over 40 percent of residents live without access to electricity. On Native American Reservations across the U.S., the Energy Information Administration estimates that 14 percent of households have no access to electricity, 10 times higher than the national average. Many tribes are looking to renewable energy as a way to provide reliable, clean energy to their tribal members.
Since 2007, Trees, Water & People’s Tribal Renewable Energy Program has been training Native American communities in a variety of renewable energy applications, including solar PV, solar heating, wind energy, and geothermal. This program strives to put the power of nature — the warmth of the sun, the power of the wind, the shelter of trees — to work for Native Americans.
In this photo, Native American students attending one of our Solar Energy Workshops gain hands-on experience installing a solar PV system on the roof of the KILI Radio station located on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Our students and tribal partners are passionate about clean energy because it offers a way to power homes on tribal lands without continuing to destroy Mother Earth.”
Abraham, from New York, wrote, “This is a photo of the Dawes Glacier is southeast Alaska calving. It was taken 6/19/15. Global warming is causing the glaciers to melt, water levels to rise and is wreaking havoc with our climate. Air pollution from burning fossil fuels is at the source of the problem. Solar power is part of the solution to cleaning up the environment and lessening our reliance on fossil fuels.”
Steven, from Washington, wrote, “Picture of my granddaughters in from of solar panel before it went to the roof with 29 others
Why did we install solar panels?
1. For our granddaughters
2. Invest in a more sustainable future
3. Support and encourage alternative energy technology development
4. Support local companies and manufacturers
5. Favorable house sighting for solar generation (Seattle averages 2,000 hours of sunlight per year)
6. Investment opportunity (better ROI than CDs; 30% federal tax break)
7. Home improvement increases house value
8. Generate our own electricity
9. Feed excess power back to the grid to support regional power needs
10. Help break USA dependency on extractive energy generation and related environmental costs”
Jeff, from Masachusetts, wrote, “Installed solar 2011. Have panels on 3 pitched sides and flat rubber roof. Once believed solar was for the rich and, as a working class person, couldn’t afford it. Not only was I able to install 36 panels, I used the solar incentives to pay for the entire array in less than 4 years and will make an ROI of about 20%. I became the Solar Coach for Solarize Salem in 2014 and now work as an unbiased, objective resource advisor for a non-profit, helping homeowners, non-profits and even my municipality benefit. Too many are taken advantage of, so my focus is for people to realize the advantages.
Solar is one of the ways we can make this a more sustainable and resilient place. This is about clean air and water and not wasting the finite resources we have… Renewables can help create micro-grids that will make the distribution of power more equitable and safe and can alleviate issues such as storm effects due to the extreme climate changes.”
David, from Michigan, wrote, “When I was working for the City of Ann Arbor as the Energy Coordinator, I was able to secure some grant funds to help install a solar water heating system on the roof of the main fire station. The contractor planned to install the system on the fire station roof in 3 working days. After preparing the roof mounts on day one, the three 4′ x 10′ solar collectors were to be lifted to the roof by a crane. With the roof prepared and the solar installation crew ready, the crane ran into last minute problems and could not arrive on the scheduled day. Since they were already there, the solar crew elected to set up two long ladders and manually (one person on each ladder) try to haul the 130 lb collectors up 3 stories to the roof. The fire station crew watched them struggle with the first one, and then offered to help using their ladder truck. I was working across the street on the third floor of City Hall, when out my window I saw the ladder truck lifting the remaining solar collectors. I rushed out of my office and snapped this picture. This was just the start of a great relationship between the contractor, the fire station staff and their solar water heater. The fire station crew is very proud that their shower and wash water is heated by solar energy. I have pictures of the collectors installed on the roof, too.”