From community leaders and student activists to homeowners and job trainees, people across the U.S. are going solar and bringing solar to their neighborhoods. You’re part of a movement to repower our nation with sunshine, and thanks to over 10,000 of you who took action last year, we’ve made great progress.

Here are six stories of solar supporters like you making a real impact — for lower energy bills, healthier and more resilient communities, and a brighter future for all of us! 

 

1) These inspiring Solar Pioneers in New York are helping their neighbors save with clean energy

Solar Pioneers at Solar Strong Town Hall in NY

Thanks to thousands who joined our campaign for a Million Solar Strong New York, Governor Cuomo committed to visionary action! He doubled the state’s commitment to solar with enough solar to power one million homes in the next 6 years, and set a goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. This huge leap forward will boost the local solar economy statewide — putting more New Yorkers to work and saving families and businesses on their electric bills. We’ve made amazing progress, but we have more work ahead to move lawmakers to make a bold and concrete commitment to expand solar for low-income families.

New York City youth leaders joined our campaign for a Million Solar Strong New York at our Solar Strong Town Hall in Brooklyn. In their neighborhoods of Brownsville and East New York, 36% of residents live below the federal poverty line, yet they face some of the highest utility bills in the nation. These inspiring young activists are helping power up their communities with clean energy as Solar Pioneers, connecting neighbors, businesses, and local institutions to save with solar in a group. We’ll continue to work with local communities and elected leaders to drive an equitable transition to a #SolarStrongNY. 

 

2) These homeowners are building a more resilient Florida with solar + storage

Florida couple

Hurricane Irma was the last straw for Florida solar power couple Debra and Paul McMaster. They’d been through it before when Hurricane Michael knocked out utility poles and transmission lines, cutting off power for weeks. The old way of delivering power through a centralized grid proved unreliable. But the large solar arrays survived, and most were back online right away. After Irma hit them with more power outages, these homeowners decided to go solar — with storage.

Debra and Paul were among the first in Florida to invest in a solar-plus-storage solution for their home. Their system gives them better control over home energy use and cost savings while providing clean, safe and reliable power, with a battery to hold sunshine in reserve. When the next storm hits, their lights will stay on. We’re working to build resilience to natural disasters in Southeast communities and beyond with local clean energy. Solar-plus-storage is the way forward to a more resilient energy future. 

 

3) These awesome solar job trainees in California are ready to put the sun to work

NAACP Solar Jobs Training with GRID Alternativees

Photo Credit: GRID Alternatives

San Diego residents Othelma and Ora Love have a beautiful new solar installation on their home thanks to the efforts of over a dozen solar job trainees. These new trainees are entering one of America’s fastest-growing industries, with over a quarter million people leading our clean energy transition across the nation — from urban microgrids to home installations to rural electric coops.

Solar creates opportunity, and we’re working with partners to ensure that communities impacted by climate and economic injustice can power their local economies with solar access and jobs. The NAACP’s Solar Equity Initiative led this great training event along with installer partners GRID Alternatives and Sunrun, and the refugee support organization Alliance for African Assistance. We’re a proud partner of this initiative, which works to connect low-income communities and communities of color with solar technology and skills training. 

 

4) These students in Michigan put solar on their high school

West Bloomfield high school install solar

Photo Credit: Dan Durkin, The Oakland Press

All across the nation, youth activists are taking charge of their energy future, from demanding a national Green New Deal to fighting for solar progress in their communities. Julianne and Jackie Thomas joined with other Michigan student activists to help power West Bloomfield High School with solar. Their school club did all the heavy lifting to go solar, from energy audits to fundraising to lending a hand with the installation. 
 
We hosted a Solar Celebration with these young solar experts, where locals got to tour the solar array up-close. Students are facing the climate crisis head-on and helping build the world their parents want them to inherit. As Frank from Royal Oak shared with us, “I’ve got six kids, and when I think about the world we’re living in, I want to make sure we have an environment that’s healthy and safe for them.” 
 
 

5) This community leader is helping power Puerto Rico's recovery with local solar

Christine Nieves in Puerto Rico

Photo Credit: PV Magazine

Imagine going for an entire year or more without reliable electricity at home. That’s what many Puerto Ricans endured after Hurricane Maria devastated the electrical grid. So local leaders took control of their own energy, like Christine Nieves who powered a community kitchen with a donated solar system.

Local solar saved lives and has been critical to the ongoing recovery, but the fossil fuel industry has tried to stop communities from re-powering their neighborhoods with sunshine. So activists formed the Queremos Sol Puerto Rico (We Want Sun Puerto Rico) initiative to fight for 100% renewable energy by 2050 with solar communities and microgrids. Governor Ricardo Rosselló listened and endorsed these goals in 2018. Puerto Ricans are leading the way to a just and resilient energy future.

 

6) And our #10yearchallenge

Vote Solar does the 10 year challenge

Our Vote Solar team is taking the #10yearchallenge. Annie Lappé ’s two energetic, adventurous girls keep her on her toes — and she’s fired up every day to get to work so that they can live in a world powered by a just clean energy system. Sach Constantine recalls snow in Berkeley ten years ago, and is driven for ten more years to make huge leaps for clean energy. Check out more stories on our Twitter of where we were in 2009 vs. today .

What's your solar story? Have you gone solar or do you wish you could?

Send us a photo and tell us why, and we may share your story in a future post!

Vote Solar USA

 

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