6 Ways to Spark the Clean Energy Revolution
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4. Solar Gardens
If leasing doesn’t float your boat and you can’t put solar on the roof of you house, here’s another option. In Taos, New Mexico, Kit Carson Electric Co-op, the town’s electricity provider has teamed up with Clean Energy Collective to offer customers a chance to buy panels at a central location to offset their energy bills. As the Taos News reports:
For $845, co-op customers can buy one of 420 panels that will offset their energy use and reduce their monthly cost of electricity. The co-op initially planned to own and operate the community solar project itself, but it was recently handed off to Clean Energy Collective based in Carbondale, Colo. Clean Energy Collective will own the array and sell individual panels. The co-op has agreed to buy power from the array for the next 20 years.
Those who buy a panel won’t literally be getting solar-powered electrons pumped straight to their home or business. Instead, panel owners are credited for the energy their portion of the array puts into the co-op’s grid every month.
The Taos project is just one of many community solar projects. Find more at the Solar Gardens Institute.
5. Cleaner Transportation
If you live in a city and you are able to bike or walk, do it. The fewer cars we have choking up city streets the better. But that also means we need to continue to plan our cities to be safer for both bikes and pedestrians. If you need a little extra help getting from A to B or up some steep hills, check out an electric bike (and coming soon, electric back wheels to power your bicycle). Ride an electric bike and you’ll feel like Superman—plug it in to your solar PVs at home, and you’ve earned yourself the right to wear a cape.
Depending on where you live (outside the realm of existing or decent public transit) and your physical ability, you may be stuck needing a car to get around. Or maybe you just like driving. "I think that cars will be a big part of society indefinitely and need to be much cleaner,” said Shahan, who is in favor of electric cars.
“They're better than gasmobiles in almost every way. They have better pickup. They drive more smoothly. They are much quieter,” he says. “They are much greener, and do not emit any pollution near the consumer/driver. They are much simpler and require much less maintenance. And many are also cheaper than their gas cousins over the lifetime of ownership, something that will become more and more common. As people come to realize that electric cars are on the road and so much better than gasmobiles, sales will take off. They're already starting to.”
This doesn’t mean that everyone should run out and buy one. We need more electric options for car sharing and Shahan says he forsees the leasing of electric cars taking off. “ Elon Musk, who is the CEO and chairman of Tesla Motors (the world's leading electric car company) and also the chairman of SolarCity (a leading solar leasing company), has stated that he thinks electric cars will go this leasing route, just as solar has. It matches the reality of how most consumers approach purchases.”
In order for electric cars to truly help support clean energy, we need to be plugging them in to renewable power sources, so their development goes hand-in-hand with PV on our roofs, solar gardens in our communities and clean power plants.
6. Democratiziation of Energy