Solar energy is still one of the top cleantech topics we cover, but the market seems like it has become a bit more predictable than in the past, as it has broken through the early and exciting (if risky) phases of a new industry struggling to reach competitiveness.
That doesn’t mean the market is any less complicated, though, or that the solar industry doesn’t need citizen support.
As solar has become more competitive — especially rooftop solar — anti-solar lobbying from utilities, the fossil fuel industry, and their pet organizations has heated up. Billionaires from these industries are throwing money at the cause — “the cause” being to keep homeowners and the solar industry as a whole out of the game, or heavily discriminated against.
Naturally, the smaller, less wealthy, less profitable solar industry can’t alone match these lobbying efforts. But the people — you and me — are pro solar, and we can do our part. In the kind of democracy we live in, I think this is an important part of our responsibilities.
On that topic … as you might have seen, the Illinois Solar Energy Association has launched its 2016 fundraiser. As in previous years, it is raffling off a Tesla Model S as part of this fundraising effort. That’s enough to entice many a cleantech enthusiast to pitch in (and maybe win). However, I think viewing it only from a “gambling” lens misses the point.
The temptation of winning a Tesla for just $100 or a few hundred dollars certainly pulls me in, but it is the idea that I am supporting an organization that is increasing the shift to solar that is what makes me think it’s a good idea.
So, what does the Illinois Solar Energy Association actually do to promote solar? It lobbies to pass and improve legislation such as the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill, and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Rebate, as well as regulations regarding state electricity procurement plans and PV installation. It also monitors and shares information on solar-related legislation.
ISEA also has a webpage highlighting the solar-related businesses in the state, which should be quite helpful for homeowners and businesses looking to go solar. And it hosts or participates in a variety of public events to inform the citizenry about solar power, hosts a wealth of informative resources on its website, and has a “Solar Ambassadors” program to further advance the cause. I’m sure there’s more behind the scenes that I’m not aware of as well.
But back to the raffle, if you do decide to chip in to help the solar revolution grow in Illinois, here’s a reminder about what you can win (and no, you don’t have to be an Illinois resident, but you do have to be a US citizen):
- A base-level Tesla Model S (currently valued at $71,200) or $60,000. (Grand Prize)
- A Radio Flyer Tesla for Kids (2nd Prize & 3rd Prize)
And the cost of a ticket:
- $100 for 1 ticket
- $300 for 4 tickets
A maximum of 2,500 tickets will be sold.
What are you waiting for? Go get a ticket or three! (Note that a CleanTechnica reader did win the raffle in 2014.)
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