solar-sonoma-countyThe Climate Center and Solar Sonoma County have joined to advance solar locally and beyond. Solar Sonoma County is becoming a special program of The Climate Center.

“This is a big step forward for solar power, and represents a positive evolution that will benefit the entire solar community,” said Peter Renfro, outgoing Executive Director of Solar Sonoma County.

“We are very pleased to support solar energy consumers and the solar industry, and to help accelerate the switch from fossil fuels to solar and other renewable sources of energy,” said Ann Hancock, Executive Director of The Climate Center.

Tim Holmes, a member of the former Solar Sonoma County Board, was elected to the Board of The Climate Center. All other former Board members now constitute a Solar Committee of The Climate Center that will guide solar projects, policies, and programs.

Solar Sonoma County sponsors, vendors, and members will enjoy enhanced benefits with the merger. Anticipated new and renewed program approaches include accelerating solar deployment, solar vendor and solar consumer support, and support for Sonoma County’s new Community Choice program, Sonoma Clean Power.

Founded in 2002, Solar Sonoma County began as a consortium of local governments, businesses, organizations, and individuals working to bring solar energy to the mainstream as part of Sonoma County’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Solar Sonoma County’s early efforts focused on streamlining public policies, removing market barriers, and educating the public to expand local solar capacity and unleash demand.

In 2011, Solar Sonoma County received Department of Energy “Steel on the Roof” Award for facilitating the installation of 42 megawatts of solar power in Sonoma County – more than any other county participating in the Solar America Cities program.

Additional Solar Sonoma County’s accomplishments include:

  • Leading a countywide collaboration to standardize solar permitting
  • Creating a Solar Implementation Plan as a policy tool for local governments
  • Developing a Qualified Contractor program and Clean Energy Advocate service to protect and support consumers
  • Establishing a solar workforce training program with scholarship opportunities