Solar Electricity Public Awareness Campaign

I grew up in California, and I have worked in the solar electricity industry since 2006.

When I was a kid growing up in San Diego and we had a water shortage due to drought, I remember the rhyme from the Public Awareness Campaign on the radio: “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.” This little poem was to remind us Californians to abstain from flushing every time, in order to save our limited supply of water.

Well, in California, we have an overabundance of naturally occurring, CO2-free, renewable (for millions of years) energy from the Sun. Sit on a beach for an hour and you will feel the power of that nuclear reactor in the sky. That big, burning ball of fire generates a lot of wattage. All we have to do is to install solar-electric panels on every available roof to soak up the free-floating rays. Every day that we don’t absorb the Sun’s energy for electricity is a wasted opportunity.

* A solar-electric system on every available roof and a plug-in electric car in every garage, and Americans have just put a cap on the cost of running their homes and their passenger vehicles: reference the American-made Tesla or the new electric Mini Cooper by BMW. The electricity prices from the grid keep going up year after year, but by using solar electricity homeowners can stop those price increases. With a solar lease, homeowners can save money from day one! By buying a solar electric system, it takes roughly 5-7 years for the system to pay for itself…and then the Sun is providing free energy for 40-50 years (the solar modules have a 25-year warranty). The solar system increases the home’s value, according to the Appraisal Institute in Chicago, Illinois.


* From Wells Fargo Bank:

“When it comes to home value, a solar power system may be your best ‘remodel’ option. Based on a recent study
by ICF Consulting (funded by HUD and the EPA) energysaving measures such as solar can add $20 of home value for every $1 of yearly energy cost savings. That makes an already bright idea really shine.”


This is a total transformation concerning how Americans power their homes, offices and cars. Plenty of people are standing in the way with misinformation, disinformation and propaganda campaigns designed to deter people from using solar electricity. Unfortunately, there is no Public Awareness Campaign for solar electricity in California: no radio ads from the state government, no TV ads about the state rebate. There are no print ads or billboards from the Public Utilities Commission about the savings available through solar electricity. The same non-communication applies to the federal government and its 30% tax credit (which was knee-capped at $2,000 for residential solar until the Democratic-led Congress of 2008 leveled the playing field, so that homeowners could enjoy the same tax credit as commercial entities).

Ask 10 Californians you meet on the street about solar electricity and you might get some educated responses. Ask those same Californians about the state rebate and the federal tax credit, and you are likely to get 9 or 10 blank stares. Hardly anybody knows about the incentives for solar because there is no Public Awareness Campaign!!

What we need, very simply, is a rhyme for solar permeated on the radio and TV, in the newspapers and magazines, and in big letters on high-traffic-zone billboards. The Solar movement in California needs a Public Awareness Campaign to counter the demagoguery and sophistry of those who have a financial interest in solar electricity failing: namely the utilities like PG&E, SDG&E, Southern California Edison and LADWP.

(LADWP uses 44% coal to make its electricity; coal is dirty and cheap.)

2009 Power Content Label

Energy Resources
LADWP Power*
LADWP Green Power** (projected) 2007 CA Power Mix***(for comparison)
Eligible Renewable**** 14% 100% 10%
-Biomass & waste 1% <1%
-Geothermal 2% 2%
-Small hydroelectric 5% 25% 6%
-Solar <1% <1%
-Wind 6% 75% 2%
Coal 44% 32%
Large Hydroelectric 7% 24%
Natural Gas 26% 31%
Nuclear 9% 3%
Other <1% 0%
TOTAL 100% 100% 100%
* 100% of LADWP Power is specifically purchased from individual suppliers.** 100% of LADWP Green Poweris specifically purchased from individual suppliers.*** Percentages are estimated annually by the California Energy Commission based on the electricity sold to California consumers during the previous year.**** In accordance with Los Angeles City Council’s action on 10-5-04 for File No. 03-2688 (RPS).
For specific information about this electricity product, contact LADWP at 1-800-DIAL-DWP. For general information about the Power Content Label, contact the California Energy Commission at 1-800-555-7794 or

How about something like “The Sun can make your computer run. California is going solar-electric: half the system is paid for by incentives! You get a rebate from the state and a tax credit when you get it. “ And then a website or 800 number to call.

Solar electricity needs a Public Awareness Campaign. The utilities claim to support solar electricity, but they do everything they can behind the scenes to stymie increased use of Photovoltaics (Energy from the Sun). When it comes to Solar, the California Public Utilities Commission needs to start supporting the Public more than the Utilities: meaning get a Solar Electricity Public Awareness Campaign going pronto!

Remember, burning fossil fuels causes increased carbon emissions that can lead to icecaps melting, sea levels rising and coastal flooding. Solar electricity is CO2-free.


Solar Electricity makes the Utility Meter spin backward!

* Click for cartoon…

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