In 2017 Good Sun, together with members of local schools and government agencies in Nevada County, collectively called the ‘Local Power’ group, won a Department of Energy grant for participating in the Solar In Your Community Challenge. In response to the Challenge, Good Sun and Local Power conceptualized the Re-Power program.
The Re-Power program is based on three pillars of (1) Solar PV installations – at local schools, local municipal buildings, and LMI homes, leveraging used solar equipment diverted from landfill; (2) Education & vocation – comprised of interactive solar/environmental education labs (ISELs), classroom instructional curricula, student internships with local environmental-related businesses, and hands-on vocational training at real solar installations; (3) Community connectedness & cultural preservation – this is the most complex of the pillars as it seeks to support cultural heritage preservation, indigenous rights, biodiversity and wildlife, and the arts. These three pillars are supported through the following core campaigns:
1. Our “Used but useful” campaign intends to procure used solar and electrical equipment, tools, and materials from suppliers, manufacturers, and contractors, diverting resources away from landfill, and re-purpose these goods at low-to-moderate income schools, households, and other non-profit organizations.
2. Our “Pay it Forward” campaign is the main support for the third pillar in the Re-Power program and follows a similar approach to the “1% For the Planet” model wherein Good Sun solicits local companies and organizations to donate a portion of their profits to the program.
3. Our “Knowledge is Power” campaign develops curricula for schools to teach on the subjects of renewable energy (RE), ecological conservation (EC), sustainable design (SD), and appropriate technology (AT). Our first-round target schools include Bitney Charter, Yuba River Charter, and Grass Valley Charter. Second-round target schools include Sierra College, Nevada Union High, Nevada City School of the Arts, and Bell Hill.
4. Our “Virtue of Wisdom” campaign creates hands-on, ROP type programs into local schools in order to train students on RECSDAT design and installation techniques. Our intent is to tie in this ROP training to the Sierra College solar NABCEP preparatory program.
5. Our “Giving Tree” campaign awards one family in the community that meets certain criteria such as LMI, each period, with a free solar photovoltaic (PV) system installed on their home. This campaign is funded by the PIF campaign and other fundraising efforts. These local PV installations serve as opportunities for students in the VOW campaign to gain real-world, hands-on experience. Successful example: Grid-Alternatives.
6. Our “Crowd-Source-Innovation” campaign develops educational opportunities at each “Giving Tree” solar installation in order to spread awareness of solar and the Re-Power program.
Each campaign is designed to support the others and each fundraising effort is designed to feed essential operating capital back into the program, creating a reinforcing feedback loop of program sustainability.