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Published on March 28th, 2013 | by John Farrell

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Solar Cooperative Gets Panels On 1 In 10 Roofs In Neighborhood Of DC

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March 28th, 2013 by  

What began as a group of neighbors hoping to reduce their impact on global warming has since become a major force for solar advocacy in Washington, DC.

The Mount Pleasant Solar Cooperative was started by two teenage boys who wanted to make solar power convenient and affordable through a bulk-purchase program. Along the way, the cooperatives new members realized that buying power wasn’t enough, and sought out changes in the district’s energy policies.  Today the Mount Pleasant Solar Cooperative has helped to get solar panels on over 10 percent of the homes in the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood and has grown into a city-wide political organization.

In December 2012, John Farrell spoke to Anya Schoolman about the growing political role of the Mount Pleasant Solar Cooperative in the larger DC area. As Anya explains, their success is attributed to an on-going cycle of project development, organization, and policy work, a process that has proven successful since the cooperative started in 2006. Having achieved many of their immediate goals for more affordable community solar – and with a growing network of solar constituents – the cooperative hopes to continue pushing for legislation that will enable solar in greater DC.

Anya’s most recent undertaking is connecting with other groups looking to develop community-based solar and other renewable energy projects. The Community Power Network, a directory of grassroots organizations working to build locally-based renewable energy projects, was started as a vast information resource and communication hub for interested organizations. Through the Community Power Network, Anya and activists across the country are able to share their experiences, expertise and technical assistance to grow community power.

This is the first edition of Local Energy Rules, a new ILSR podcast that is published twice monthly, on 1st and 3rd Thursday. In this podcast series, ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell talks with people putting together great community renewable energy projects and examining how energy policies help or hurt the development of clean, local power.  

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Click to subscribe to the podcast: iTunes or RSS/XML, sign up for new podcast notifications and weekly email updates from ILSR’s energy program!

This post originally appeared on ILSR’s Energy Self-Reliant States blog.

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About the Author

directs the Democratic Energy program at ILSR and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. His seminal paper, Democratizing the Electricity System, describes how to blast the roadblocks to distributed renewable energy generation, and how such small-scale renewable energy projects are the key to the biggest strides in renewable energy development.   Farrell also authored the landmark report Energy Self-Reliant States, which serves as the definitive energy atlas for the United States, detailing the state-by-state renewable electricity generation potential. Farrell regularly provides discussion and analysis of distributed renewable energy policy on his blog, Energy Self-Reliant States (energyselfreliantstates.org), and articles are regularly syndicated on Grist and Renewable Energy World.   John Farrell can also be found on Twitter @johnffarrell, or at jfarrell@ilsr.org.



  • Jesus

    Wow, great job! Just goes to show, Coops are the future, corporations are evil

    • Think it Through

      You are so right, look at all of those co-ops that are producing PV modules, inverters, PV panels, wiring, brackets, screws/nuts/bolts, power-tools, solder/soldering guns, mining equipment, etc. Yep, get rid of those worthless nasty corporations.

      Now, realistically, co-ops are definitely an important part of the future, however, they will never be able to fully supplant corporations. Also, there are some very non-evil corporations (google aside) that do a lot of good. It’s just dependent on their leadership and who/what they are beholden to.

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