The Sun is Rising on a New Day for Solar in Sonoma County

by Geoffrey D. Smith

The recent ‘marriage’ of Solar Sonoma County (SSC) with The Climate Center (CCP) is, well, a match made in heaven. SSC has been responsible for a significant increase in installations of photovoltaic (PV) solar throughout the region. SSC has advocated on behalf of hundreds of homeowners and businesses by connecting them with qualified local vendors to get the job done. In their support of the solar vendor community, SSC brought installer companies together for forums and collaboration, and served as their voice in local and state government. SSC’s work to standardize the permitting process across jurisdictions vastly improved efficiency. In short: Solar Sonoma County ROCKED!

In July of this year, SSC became a program of the CCP. I have the good fortune of being the person hired to coordinate the new Solar Energy Program. I can think of no issue on the planet more important than climate change. Ending our dependence on fossil fuels is the critical component in the mix of strategies needed to achieve climate protection. Solar is a big part of this solution. I’m so excited about this work, in fact, that my wife and I are installing solar panels on the roof of our home this summer! (Stay tuned for a blog about that.)

Three core SSC programs will continue to grow under CCP:

Clean Energy Advocate (CEA) – The program supports prospective solar customers who call us with their questions about solar installations. If you’ve put off your solar decision due to questions about technologies and financing options, delay no more! We can help you determine whether your home is a solar candidate and connect you with three Qualified Vendors who will provide competitive bids for your job. Call us if you’re thinking of going solar: 707.654.4350.

Qualified Vendor Program (QVP) – Utilizing a detailed annual vetting process, we evaluate the skill sets, customer satisfaction and quality of work performed by each of the vendors in the pool. We develop personal relationships with the vendor teams, and host regular ‘Vendor Meetings’ at which we discuss technology trends in the industry, pending legislation and rule-making that affects solar ownership, and other topics of mutual interest. When we send referrals to our solar prospects, we can stand behind them!

Certified Local Program (CL) – The ‘CL’ brand serves as a means of easily identifying local contractors and service providers, with the goal of encouraging governments, consumers and other businesses to choose local first when it comes to both large and small renewable energy projects. Sonoma County residents support local business!

I am very upbeat about the future of solar in California! We’ll work to ensure favorable rules governing small-scale distributed solar generation at the state level. We look forward to assisting residential and commercial solar generators to be their own advocates for fair rates and policies. As solar is the flagship renewable energy technology, we’ll engage statewide to serve as a resource for emerging Community Choice programs.

As our marriage ‘made in heaven’ matures, the new combined forces of Solar Sonoma County and The Climate Center are sure to make a positive impact on how we view our heavenly resources – the sun and our climate.

Geoffrey D. Smith is the Solar Energy Program Coordinator for The Climate Center. Email Geoffrey for more information about the Center’s solar programs. 

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