Community Solar Connects to the Grid – Not Your Roof – with David Amster-Olszewski, SunShare

Episode 45

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Hosted by
Ron Kamen

Ron Kamen has decades of expertise & leadership in catalyzing exponential change in sustainable energy adoption with governments, non-profits, and businesses.

Quantum Quote: “80% of homes and businesses can’t install rooftop solar because they have an old house, or trees shade the roof, or they’re facing in the wrong direction, or they rent. In 48 states, Community Solar let’s people purchase the electricity from solar farms and get credit on their monthly electricity bill, just like they would if the panels were on the roof of their house ” – David Amster-Olszewski

Would you like to put solar panels in your home, but you don’t have space to do so, or have too much shade to make it economical?

Are you hesitant to purchase solar services due to long-term contracts, or do you rent your home?

With community solar, you can have both the ease of service and the freedom to choose to cancel or renew the contract on short notice – even if you’re a renter.

Situated in Colorado, David Amster-Olszewski and his company SunShare has been helping the world in making an impact on Earth’s sustainability through clean, affordable electricity with community “solar gardens”.

David pioneered the concept of solar farms in Colorado starting in 2011. Now, over twenty states have legislation that mandates community solar programs, and the addition of voluntary utility programs makes community solar available in 48 states. 

David originally got interested in clean and renewable energy back in his freshman days in Colorado College. This led to the inspiration of building his own solar farm right after his mother told him about the passage of the first Colorado Community Solar legislation in 2010. 

In this episode, David talks about how Community Solar works as an easy, affordable way to enjoy clean, renewable energy and the subscription process to a community solar garden  that uses the utility grid to continue to deliver energy while you are incentivized with solar credits on your monthly electricity bill. 

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  •  * How geothermal heating and cooling can draw energy from the ground beneath our feet (for pennies)
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  • * The secrets to securing utility incentives and tax credits to pay for a large portion of your new geothermal system
  •  and much more …

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SuperNova #1. “If you believe in something, don’t give up.” – David Amster-Olszewski

SuperNova #2. “All of the things we’ve talked about here, don’t think that they’re out of your reach. Start looking into it. Start looking at the numbers. Look for options around you, and if there isn’t an option… make that option around you… Now’s the time to do it.” – David Amster-Olszewski

SuperNova #3. “If each of us gets out there and does one thing, we could make a significant difference. Don’t think that it’s a big problem you can’t possibly solve that’s outside your control. It’s totally in your control, and your friends’ and families’ too. So just get out there and do something. Take one small step.” – David Amster-Olszewski

Worst Clean Energy Moment: When Minnesota was opening up in late 2014 and 2015, the program had so many applications that caused the utility to freak out. This led to them pausing the program for 18 months. 

Best Advice He’s Ever Received: Stay focused.

Most Energized about Today: The connectivity between renewable energy, energy storage, vehicle electrification and home electrification, and how close we are at achieving low-cost energy that will reduce carbon emissions by 80% – 90% in the next decade.

Personal Habits that Contribute to Success: Persistence. Not giving up.

Internet Resource: For solar news and renewable energy news – PV Magazine. https://www.pv-magazine.com/

Book Recommendation: “The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future”  by Gretchen Bakke. 

Magic Wand: “If I could change one thing for everyone in the world, it would be empowerment. The mental perspective for people to realize there that they really can achieve their full potential.”

Parting Advice: “All of the things mentioned in the interview, don’t think that they’re out of your reach. Start looking into clean energy, and look for options around you. If an option doesn’t come your way, create that option yourself.It’s in your control.Take one small step.”

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Episode 45