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Dale and Cherylyn Baker

Dale Baker

Ten years ago, Dale and Cherylyn Baker of Fort Collins explored the possibility of installing solar panels on the roof of a new shed they were building. “It didn’t make economic sense to do that at the time because solar was expensive,” Dale said. As technology improved, incentives became more common, and community solar was born, the Bakers re-explored adopting ... Read More »

Ling Zhou

SolarPerks customer

Ling Zhou lives in a condo in Quincy, Massachusetts. She was interested in residential solar energy, although an on-site system was not an option, since what happens to the rooftop “is not my decision,” she said. Then Zhou heard about community solar with Clean Energy Collective (CEC). As ratepayer in National Grid’s service territory, she qualified to participate in CEC’s ... Read More »

Mike and Donna Cooper

Mike Cooper

For 43 years, Mike Cooper hosted the morning show on KAYS-AM Radio. After retiring in 2011, Cooper turned his energy toward the sun—and vice versa. When he heard that Midwest Energy, his local utility cooperative, was partnering with community solar developer Clean Energy Collective (CEC) to build Kansas’ largest roofless solar facility, Cooper’s interest piqued. “We’re environmentally conscious,” the Hays ... Read More »

Rebecca Driscoll

Rebecca Driscoll

In 2011, Clark’s Market—an independent grocer with eight stores in western Colorado—shifted to local renewable energy when it bought 40 community solar panels from Clean Energy Collective (CEC). The purchase intrigued local residents, including Rebeca Driscoll, whose house doesn’t receive sufficient sunlight for on-site solar. Driscoll’s friend had gone through the community solar process, and suggested that she explore the clean energy ... Read More »

Tom Giessel

Tom Giessel_Farmers Union

Born and raised in central Kansas, Tom Giessel, now 62, has been farming his entire life. He grows wheat, corn and alfalfa and sells the crops to local markets throughout Pawnee County. “I’ve always been interested in solar, I just never pursued it very hard,” Giessel said. Through his rural electric cooperative, Midwest Energy, he discovered that Kansas’ largest community solar facility ... Read More »

Deb Kalish

Deb Kalish

Senior Assistant Attorney for Boulder, Colo., Deb Kalish represents the city of 103,000+ residents in front of the Public Utilities Commission. “Boulder actually helped write the community solar legislation and I knew the rebates and REC payments were going down soon,” Kalish said. “So I started looking into solar for my roof.” The solar installers who assessed Kalish’s Louisville home ... Read More »

Bronna Zlochiver

Bronna in Rwanda

Like many houses in rural Vermont, Bronna Zlochiver’s home is surrounded by trees. “I wanted to decrease my carbon footprint as much as possible but because I live on a mostly wooded lot, my home does not get enough sunlight to allow me to have solar panels here,” Bronna said. The Vernon, Vermont resident is not alone. In fact, the ... Read More »

Russ and Pat Bushman

The Bushmans

Minnesota is home to more than 52 native tree species with 17.3 million forested acres throughout the state. Hardy and majestic, these 70-foot Basswoods and 100-foot Red Pines create a considerable amount of shade, making it difficult to install a rooftop solar system. Russ Bushman has experienced this obstacle first-hand. “I have a strong interest in renewable energy options,” Russ ... Read More »

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 »