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Kirk Cunningham

Kirk_Cunningham

A lifelong environmental activist, Kirk Cunningham has dedicated his career—and now his retirement—to conservation issues. For decades, the Boulder resident has served on the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter’s Conservation Committee, helping to promote land, water and resource conservation across Colorado. In the spirit of preservation, he wanted to harness the sun’s energy, but his home was not properly sited for a rooftop solar system. “Our ... Read More »

Paul Norton and Debra Lew

Debra Lew and Paul Norton

Boulder, Colo. resident Paul Norton and his wife Debra Lew are renewable energy champions. For 15 years, they both worked for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), before Paul founded Norton Energy R&D, which develops zero energy homes, and Debra became a technical director for GE Energy Consulting—focusing on power systems planning, design and operations. Following their passion, the couple wanted to ... Read More »

Claiborne Coyle

community solar array

In 1967, Claiborne Coyle built a solar-powered model train as part of a physics project. The event sparked his interest in solar energy. Four decades later, Coyle looked into installing solar panels on his property in East Dummerston, Vermont. “I would set up a private system, but my home sits in a valley with little sun,” Coyle revealed. The Windham ... Read More »

Art Snarski

Art-Snarski

Located along the Connecticut River, the artsy town of Dummerston, Vermont is characterized by black birch, paper birch and white pine trees. Although this rural New England town is bursting with natural beauty, the tree shading makes it difficult for rooftop solar. “I would have had to ask my neighbors to cut their trees, and that would interfere with our ... Read More »

Becky Jakobsen

Becky Jakobsen

For several years, Becky Jakobsen of Aurora, Colo. has been interested in harnessing the sun’s energy to offset her household electricity needs. “I thought it would be efficient and cost saving,” she said. Initially considering a do-it-yourself system, Jakobsen researched the process and watched videos online. “People would order the wafers through eBay and they’re very brittle. Even to make one ... Read More »

Jessica Turner

Jessica Turner

Jessica Turner wanted to go solar, but didn’t want to have a solar array installed in the roof of her Putney, Vermont home.  She learned about community solar through Putney native Nick Ziter, founder of SunFarm Community Solar, which teamed up with Clean Energy Collective (CEC) to develop a 144 kW shared solar facility. Constructed on Bellows Falls Road, the ... Read More »

Jenny Sumner Heeter

Jeffco Community Solar Array

An energy analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Jenny Sumner Heeter wanted to support the development of solar energy. “When I bought a house three years ago, I contacted solar developers, who all indicated that my roof had too much shade to make solar financially viable,” Heeter said. Through her work in renewable energy, the Golden, Colo. resident learned ... Read More »

Lawrence O’Neill and Craig Peterson

Vermont community solar

Lawrence O’Neill and Craig Peterson discovered that their Great Meadows Ridge property in Putney, Vermont was not properly sited for a solar photovoltaic (PV) installation. “Yet, we wanted to benefit from solar,” Lawrence said. They learned about the Putney Community Solar Array, a 144 kW shared solar facility available to ratepayers in Green Mountain Power’s service area. Developed by Clean Energy ... Read More »

David Schmidt

David Schmidt

For a year, David Schmidt of Corcoran, Minnesota contemplated installing a residential solar electric system installed on his property.  But the commitment to spending thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars on a personal solar array was daunting. “I wasn’t ready to jump into a private installation,” David said. “It was too expensive.” Through his local utility, Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric ... Read More »

Bennet Petry

Bennet in Vermont

Bennet Petry watched as farmers around Putney and the rural areas of Vermont began installing large solar arrays. “We have a lot of organic farmers in this area, and they were probably the first to do it,” Bennet recalled. “It just became very visual. That generated interest all over the place.” His curiosity piqued as well. Now retired, Bennet began ... Read More »