Our team worked with Solar United Neighbors this semester. They are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization focusing on increasing public awareness regarding solar energy. Their three main goals are establishing solar co-ops, increasing civic engagement with solar energy policies and increasing community engagement with solar. Currently, they are trying to increase their reach by expanding into new states. After originally starting in Washington D.C., they have branched out to 11 additional states with Arizona being their latest. Being so, they’ve chosen to work with GreenLight Solutions to help get more hands on deck to run marketing campaigns and their informational sessions. The project team spent the semester learning about solar technology, policy regarding solar and how Solar United Neighbors runs their co-op process.
Like most people, our project team was affected greatly by the COVID-19 pandemic. We had to pivot and move away from a lot of our original plans for marketing and giving the informational session. Originally, our main mode of marketing were in-person events like tabling at First Friday events and at farmers markets. We were able to complete these tasks, but we would have done many more in-person events if we were able. We also had to pivot towards doing an online information session on Zoom rather than where we originally had planned. However, this was a great lesson for us. As sustainability professionals, we have to be able to adapt and become resilient. This was a crash course into how to do just that. While not culminating in exactly what we were expecting, the team learned a lot from our project with Solar United Neighbors, and we’re happy to share that we helped 5 new Phoenix residents install solar on their homes. We all believe that the co-op process has the potential to become a very powerful force moving forward!
Written by Spencer Perillo
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