Grandma Dreams Up Big Solar Plan in Kitchen

By new contributor Marguerite Manteau Rao. Check out her blog. If you feel like writing for us, drop us an email!

Lisa Max is no ordinary 64 year-old grandma.

Tired of paying too much for her electricity, and also wanting to help the environment, she started a grassroots campaign out of her kitchen in San Rafael, a small town North of San Francisco, to lower the cost of solar power for people in her community. Initially, Lisa Max’s idea was to replicate an initiative from a group of 66 households in Portola Valley, another Bay Area town, who was able, last year, to buy discounted solar installations through a community purchase plan.

Lisa started by distributing flyers in her neighborhood, then approached her local neighborhood association and finally her city’s group of neighborhood associations. Soon she had 300 residents interested. Two other women joined Lisa Max to organize the efforts, and solicit proposals from different solar companies. One local solar company, SPG Solar surprised them with an offer to provide installations at a 15 percent discount, not just for the initial group of interested residents, but also for every resident and business in the county.

GoSolarMarin was born, and in just one week since the deal between the county and the solar company was announced, the response from residents has been tremendous. And it all began with one grandma, sitting at her kitchen table, wondering what to do about her electricity bill.

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