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An Energy Newsletter for Local Governments

Solar Sebastopol Fair & Celebration Kicks Off New Solar Program

A unique solar energy program for the City of Sebastopol is being officially launched by San Rafael-based Cooperative Community Energy (CCEnergy) on Sunday, August 17, 2003 with a day-long event featuring inspirational speakers, live music, educational booths, panel discussions and fun activities for kids and teens.

The Solar Sebastopol Fair & Celebration is free to the public and will be held at the Sebastopol Community Center, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is designed to educate attendees about Sebastopol’s two-year campaign to install one megawatt (MW) of solar photovoltaics to the rooftops of local government buildings, businesses and residences.

The City of Sebastopol has entered into an agreement with CCEnergy to promote, implement, and manage the Solar Sebastopol program by conducting ongoing outreach and education activities, arranging multiple financing options, cultivating a network of qualified local solar designers and installer/contractors, and facilitating bulk purchasing of solar equipment at discount prices.

The Solar Sebastopol program is the culmination of an analysis project conducted by Sonoma State University Energy Management Design Program students in 2001 to assess the City’s overall solar energy potential. The Sebastopol City Council endorsed the study’s conclusions and sought a consulting partnership to implement a citywide solar energy program.

“We hope that Sebastopol serves as a model for other communities looking to take their energy futures into their own hands,” said Dan Pellegrini, president and chief executive officer of CCEnergy, a co-op specifically created two years ago to make it easier for California consumers to tap the energy of the sun and to contribute toward creating a mature solar energy market where all stakeholders benefit: manufacturers, installer/contractors, consumers, municipalities and, yes, even utilities.

CCEnergy aggregates buying power to residential, commercial, and municipal members who want to generate clean safe energy at reasonable prices. For member buyers, CCEnergy makes the purchase of renewable energy easy, affordable, and rewarding. For member contractors, CCEnergy delivers the benefits of professional marketing and project management services, allowing them to concentrate on their core expertise in design and installation services.

“I am excited to take part in this community celebration,” said Sam Spooner, Sebastopol City Councilman. “This is a great opportunity for local citizens to learn more about solar energy. Sebastopol can demonstrate how local governments can play a key role in moving this nation toward a more sane and sustainable energy future.”

Spooner will give a pep talk and sit on a panel describing efforts at the local, state and federal government levels to promote solar energy among consumers and stimulate the overall renewable energy market. Assemblymember Pat Wiggins (D-7th District) and Tom Roth, representing Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, will also sit on the panel. Sonoma County Supervisor Mike Reilly has also been invited to participate.

Other speakers include:

  • David Hochschild, executive director of votesolar.org, the organization that sponsored a San Francisco bond measure creating the largest local government solar program in the world.
  • Ed Smeloff, from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, who manages the city’s solar program and will provide status reports on San Francisco’s and other local government efforts to implement successful solar energy programs.
  • Paul Fenn, executive director of Local Power and architect of California’s new “community aggregation” law that allows local governments to purchase power on behalf of constituents, will highlight how local governments can build markets for renewable energy sources such as solar.

Musical entertainment will include performances by Space Debris, a band performing songs about clean power and the last energy crisis, and local folk musicians such as David Field.

Local solar installers and contractors will have booths and educational materials detailing the nuts and bolts of photovoltaic solar system installations. Another panel discussion will feature Sebastopol residents and businesses that have already installed their own solar systems. They will explain why they love the mini-power plants located on their rooftops and how they overcame their resistance to solar energy.

Fun activities for children and teens are also part of the program. The goal of the Solar Sebastopol Fair & Celebration is to sign up local residents and business owners to participate in this one-of-a-kind partnership between CCEnergy and the City of Sebastopol, and to educate the general public and other civic leaders about the great benefits of solar photovoltaics.

Early event sponsors include solar manufacturers Evergreen Solar and Kyocera Solar, along with solar service providers Solar Works (of Sebastopol) and Sun Power & Geothermal Energy.

For more information, visit the City of Sebastopol web site (http://www.ci.sebastopol.ca.us/) or call Peter Asmus (415) 868-9866.

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